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16-09-2010, 18:21
30 Years of Saudi Television's Channel Two

Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat-For the last three decades, Saudi Television's Channel Two- the kingdom's official English language network station- has played an important and significant role in rectifying ideas, clarifying facts, and changing stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims.

Channel Two began transmission at the beginning of 1982 with a number of religious, social, and political goals, most of which it has successfully achieved. Channel Two General Manager Suleiman al-Humud summarized the main goals that the channel strives to achieve. He told Asharq Al-Awsat that: "Channel Two aims to reach as many people as possible, as well as conveying the local picture and the cultural, political, and economic heritage, through the variety of programs, reports, interviews, live programming, and talk shows it offers." He added: "The channel now broadcasts around the clock and has started to deliver detailed newscasts, as well as news headlines."

Channel Two undertakes the responsibility of addressing a major social and religious concern. Al-Humud explained this concern by stressing that: "among the channel's goals is to rectify misconceptions about Saudi society and Islam. This is in addition to creating a common bond between the Saudi society and other societies that serves as a point of agreement." He added: "This is through emphasizing the common points that bring them together, foremost among which is that the Islamic Saudi society is a loving society that seeks everything that preserves mankind." He stated: "This is in addition to highlighting the role of the kingdom in global culture and its efforts in supporting global stability and security."

In 1982, Saudi Arabia's channel Two only transmitted 10 hours worth of programming a day and was targeted towards foreign residents in the kingdom. This is because of the large number of expatriates living in the kingdom and the channel was launched to provide some form of entertainment for them and shed light on the country's cultural and economic heritage. Because of its reliance on terrestrial transmission at that time, foreign residents were the channel's main target audience.

Back then, the channel presented newscasts in English and French and some translated awareness programs, in addition to some sports and children's programs in English. Also, it often played a role in supporting Channel One through airing live events, such as soccer matches, simultaneously with it.

In pointing out the goals of the channel, the general manager of Saudi Television Channel Two said: "We are also devoting attention to educating the foreign communities in the country about the existing regulations. This is in addition to educating those who wish to come to the kingdom about the measures and regulations by which they must abide. Moreover, we are concerned with correcting false news in the event of its emergence, in addition to the preservation of sound ideas."

Channel Two has created a large network of correspondents around the world. It has also sought the help of several experienced newscasters and announcers, particularly after it entered the stage of broadcasting to Europe and North America in the middle of 2007.

Al-Humud stressed that the most significant step that Channel Two has implemented is manifest in producing 75 percent of the programs it airs. He considered this to be a high percentage compared to similar channels, in terms of the variety of programs it offers. These programs include talk shows that aim at changing the existing erroneous ideas while committing to Islamic values and customs and traditions, in addition to variety, educational, entertainment, cultural, and religious programs. They also include programs that aim at delivering all the official information regarding the rules and regulations, economic programs, the provision of information about investment attractions, and the clarification of the incentives intended to encourage investment in Saudi Arabia.

The general manager of Saudi Television Channel Two pointed out that the channel devotes attention to youth and sports programs. He added that this is in addition to broadcasting world events and local and Gulf series that are dubbed in English. He explained that this is made possible through the help of some firms and institutions specialized in this field.

Saudi Television was established in 1962, when Prince Faisal Bin Abdulaziz (the crown prince and prime minister at that time) issued a ministerial statement in which he announced the Saudi Government's intention to begin television broadcasting in the country. As a result, in 1963, the cabinet endorsed a two-phase plan to establish Saudi Television in the country. The first phase involved the building of two temporary stations in Riyadh and Jeddah, and the second involved the establishment of an integrated television system on a more advanced basis.

On 7 July 1965, official broadcasting began from the Riyadh and Jeddah stations in black and white and the first signal was transmitted from these two television stations. There was only one channel available at that time under the name of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [KSA] Channel, whose transmissions ended at 2000 hours. A couple of years later, television transmission reached the honorable Mecca and Al-Taif from the Jeddah station in 1967, and then the Medina station began. One year later, transmission reached Al-Qasim and Al-Dammam, followed by Al-Bahah, Hail, and Asir. Finally, transmission reached all areas successively.

In 1974, official color broadcasting was introduced for the first time in Jeddah and Mecca, then in Riyadh in 1976. Saudi Television began to transmit events taking place outside the kingdom only a few hours after their occurrence. At the end of 1974, one of Saudi Television's greatest accomplishments was manifest in broadcasting the performance of Hajj rituals to the entire world through satellite networks. This was a huge accomplishment for which Saudi Television won the praise and appreciation of 700 million Muslims, according to the statistics conducted in this regard.

Currently, Saudi Television broadcasts on eight channels. These channels are Channel One and Channel Two, in addition to five specialized sports and news channels, an economic channel, a children's channel, and the two Holy Koran and Prophet's Sunnah channels.

16-09-2010, 18:22
Digital Plus desperate to cut churn rate

Sogecable is seeking to stop the subscriptions haemorrhage to its digital DTH platform Digital Plus by giving free TV packages and channels to keep its subs. Those subscribed to basic services are being promoted to to superior packages for free, adding in many cases up to 20 more channels to the initial offer. The company has also reduced the cost of the iPlus rental decoder, from selling it at E400 in January 2009 to renting it for between E5 and E10 a month.

Over the last two months the platform lost 24,000 clients with a net loss of 645,000 over the last one and a half years, leaving the company with 1.76 million subscribers against 2.04 million in January 2009.

The expansion of IPTV platforms and the massive launch of DTT channels and the increasing availability of Internet TV channels are putting Digital Plus on the ropes.

The platform is also suffering from the consequences of the piracy. Recently, a Madrid judge ordered a man accused of offering pirated material on two web pages to post security of E4 million until his trial begins and ordered the pages be closed. The pages allegedly offered pirated codes and cards to access the pay-content of Digital Plus. The sentence is based on an estimate of the benefits obtained by the web pages and the losses registered by Digital Plus due to the crime.

16-09-2010, 18:23
13% of Americans will ‘cord cut’

Thirteen per cent of current pay TV subscribers in the US say they are “somewhat” or “very” likely to cancel their current subscription in the next twelve months—and not sign up with another provider—according to a survey of 2,000 US households conducted by Strategy Analytics.

The firm says that “cord cutting” in favour of free broadcast or OTT content is a growing trend. “While it may represent only a relatively small percentage today, we anticipate the number of cord cutters to increase going forward,” said Ben Piper, Director in the Strategy Analytics Digital Consumer Practice. “Service providers mustn’t overlook the next generation of TV subscribers; today’s teenagers are tomorrow’s customers.”

Younger Americans consume and value content in a way far different from their parents’ generation, and have little regard for how content is delivered, according to the report.

16-09-2010, 18:24
Hustler TV on transponder Canal Digitaal

Dutch satellite pay-TV Canal Digitaal is already prepared to leave the Central European satellite pay-TV UPC Direct on ASTRA at 19.2 Wed east. Hard-core channel Hustler TV is now offered in capacities UPC Direct, the newly discovered Canal Digitaal for the transponder.

Channel Hustler TV has been one of the programs, Canal Digitaal, which had a Luxembourg company M7 Group, which operates the platform, just the capacity of UPC Direct. to 30.09.2010, the platform leaves the position of 19.2 degrees and the fact that the operator had taken into account in their plans.

Technical parameters:
Astra (19.2°E) freq 12.344 GHz, pol. H, SR 27500, FEC 3/4, DVB-S/QPSK, CA Mediaguard (Provider ID: 00 6A, 00 6C, 00 6D)

Ended on the same frequency movie channel Hallmark Channel. Another change in this platform was to kmit. 12.574 GHz H pol., where he was the original MGM movie channel Channel replaced by the station 13th Street.

16-09-2010, 18:26
Bad week for China and Israel satellite operators

It has not been the best of week for smaller satellite operators. Two are suffering problems with their satellites. Israel’s Spacecom has discovered that its Amos 5i (a second-hand satellite bought from AsiaSat at the end of last year) doesn’t have the fuel on board that it expected. The AsiaSat craft was designed to last for the best part of two years, but it now seems likely that owners Spacecom will be lucky to tease it much beyond this coming winter. Amos 5, which is targeted to occupy the 17 deg East orbital position, doesn’t get launched until the middle of 2011.

China’s recently launched Sinosat-6 spacecraft has also suffered an in-orbit anomaly that will translate into a probable loss of life of up to five years. The anomaly is believed to be connected to a potential leak in the helium pressurant. The end result is that extra – and unplanned – fuel was used to get the satellite onto its final location after launch.

Sinosat-6 was launched on a Long March rocket on September 9, and is due to replace Sinosat-3 at 125E. The spacecraft is reportedly insured for around $200m. The satellite was constructed by China Great Wall Industry Corp.

However, the satellite’s problems will be of great concern to both the manufacturer and insurers given that it is the third China Great Wall craft to suffer a malfunction out of the last four. The problems, however, seem to be unconnected. In October 2006 Sinosat 2 failed to deploy its solar arrays and then Nigcomsat-1 suffered a technical error to its solar array in November 2008. Venesat-1, which was launched in October 2008, continues to operate normally, although the problems that affected the other two satellites reportedly pushed up both the launch and in-orbit insurance rates for Venezuala’s debut satellite.

The next Chinese satellites in the pipeline are Paksat-1R and NigComSat-2, both of which are due to be launched later next year.

16-09-2010, 18:28
Playboy TV launched in Taiwan

Playboy TV International (PTVI) has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Taiwan Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan’s premiere telecommunications provider and a leader in IPTV, to launch Playboy TV and Playboy HD VOD programming in Taiwan. Playboy TV’s commercial-free channel, airing in English with Chinese subtitled characters, is available to consumers 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the Chunghwa Telecom MOD IPTV platform. Playboy TV’s HD programming is available through CHT MOD’s video on demand platform.

16-09-2010, 18:29
Intel inside smart TV

Intel has unveiled SoCs for smart TVs. At its annual launch event Intel debuted two new Atom chips with the CE4200 series designed for ‘blending’ TV and web browsing.

“We’ve got to cover a lot of territory and as Atom is coming into these market segments where Intel architecture hasn’t been before we’re really trying to help support customers very quickly,” said Doug Davis, head of Intel’s Embedded and Communications Group.

Technicolor has been collaborating with Intel on its latest new chip. The strategic collaboration ‘will fuel Technicolor’s plan to drive into the market a new generation of integrated broadcast and IP set-top boxes, enabling service providers to create exciting new multi-screen, 3D, games and online video user experiences in the home.’

The collaboration agreement with Intel has allowed Technicolor to test early prototype silicon, provide technical recommendations to Intel, and prove new STB designs. Technicolor has developed an early 3D Multiview Coding (MVC) and video transcoding demonstration of the chipset capabilities to illustrate its potential in delivering the next generation TV experience. The first devices from Technicolor are expected to be in production early in 2011.

16-09-2010, 18:30
Motive acquires NXVision ‘remote access’

Broadcast television technology and services provider Motive Television is to acquire the assets of NXVision from the liquidator for a total consideration of £10,000 (€12,000) in cash. NXVision has developed proprietary software that allows any Internet-connected device or mobile phone to obtain and display anything available on a home set-top box (STB) or Internet connected television.

Motive has made the acquisition in line with its belief that there will be demand from viewers to be able to access their personal home entertainment live from anywhere, i.e. any programmes that are available from a viewer’s home TV – including any content that is pre-recorded on TV plus or stored on a viewer’s hard drive connected to the television or in the STB.

Motive is particularly interested in exploring the possibility of NXVision’s software enhancing the BesTV technology for which it has the global distribution rights (excluding Spain and Italy). The BesTV patented software allows DTT broadcasters to offer low-cost premium and time-shifted services with or without Internet connection.

Mick Pilsworth, Chairman of Motive Television, suggested that NXVision’s software could be easily integrated with the BesTV technology offering exciting possibilities. “This demonstrates our ability to seek out technological opportunities to complement the existing business, which we will continue to do, in turn adding value for shareholders,” he said.

16-09-2010, 18:31
UK: Content providers will pay 75% of ‘3 strikes’ cost

Copyright holders would be paying 75 per cent of any infringement challenge costs according to the Minister of Communications, Ed Vaizey. ISP’s would be paying the remaining 25 per cent of the costs. This will include funding free appeals for those who are accused of downloading or sharing copyrighted material, though the Department says it will review this “should it become clear that a large number of vexatious appeals result.”

One of out ten people in the UK download or share copyrighted material without authorisation from the digital rights holder, according to research.

According to Vaizey, this move could generate an additional £200 million (E240m) for the digital content industry.

16-09-2010, 18:32
Fox Germany appoints Laux

Fox International Channels (FIC), News Corporation’s multimedia arm, focused on the production and international distribution of Pay TV channels, contents and digital services for Internet and mobile has announced the appointment of Mirjam Laux as Vice President and Managing Director of Fox Channels Germany. Mirjam Laux joins Fox Channels from ProSiebenSat.1 Group, where she began in 2004 as Senior Manager and later as Head of Corporate Development for SevenOne Intermedia.

16-09-2010, 18:33
Fox Channel Germany appoints Mirjam Laux

Fox International Channels has appointed Mirjam Laux as vice president and managing director of Fox Channels Germany.
Laux will have responsibilities in all key areas for the pay-TV channels business including affiliate sales, ad sales, programming, productions, marketing, and business development for brands FOX, National Geographic Channel, National Geographic Channel HD, National Geographic Wild and Baby TV, as well as all future channels. Laux will also oversee .FOX Networks (pronounced “dot FOX”) in Germany, the online advertising division of Fox International Channels, in addition to television programme sales for National Geographic Channels International.

The newly appointed MD will be based in the Munich office and will report to Diego Londono, president and managing director of Fox Channels Germany and Italy.

Mirjam Laux joins Fox Channels from ProSiebenSat.1 Group, where she began in 2004 as senior manager and later as head of corporate development for SevenOne Intermedia. There, she shaped and helped implement the diversification strategies for the ProSiebenSat.1 Group, especially covering the company’s online video activities (e.g. maxdome, iTunes and MyVideo). In 2006, Laux became Head of Business Development at SevenSenses, where she also assumed responsibility for the pay-TV channels, i.e. Sat.1 Comedy, kabel eins classics and ProSiebenSat.1 Welt in 2008. Prior to starting with the broadcasting group, she completed an MBA degree at The Wharton School/University of Pennsylvania and worked at Morgan Stanley’s Media M&A Team in London. Laux studied at EAP European School of Management in Paris, Oxford and Berlin.

Fox International Channels operates in Germany, Austria and German speaking Switzerland with four TV brands available via cable, satellite and IPTV platforms.

16-09-2010, 18:34
MTV launches on Spanish DTT

Today, Thursday, September 17, MTV will make its debut on Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) as a free to air channel.
Until now, MTV Espana was only available on cable, satellite and IPT after it was launched 10 years ago. As a multi-platform brand, MTV Espana has been involved in pay TV, online content on mtv.es, mobile wap portal, credit card with added value services and live music events such as MTV Winter and MTV Galicia.

MTV will launch with a live countdown to the first broadcast of the channel. VJ Johann Wald will welcome the audience from the White Carpet at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards in LA. The world’s brightest stars, from Lady Gaga to Eminem, will join MTV Spain in celebrating the channel’s launch on to DTT.

Prime time programming will include MTV series such as Hard Times of RJ Berger. 10 Things I Hate About You, Cougar Town with Courteney Cox, and cult series like Southpark as well as reality shows such as 16&Pregnant and Teen Mom.

The terrestrial distribution is a result of a distribution agreement between Viacom and Vocento. MTV will replace the Spanish language music channel 40 Latino.

16-09-2010, 18:35
CEE drives 8.8% satellite growth across EMEA

Eutelsat has released details of its 2010 reception survey that reports a total of 210.7 million homes in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The 8.8% growth has been driven by satellite reception, which itself has expanded at a rate twice faster than that of multichannel reception as a whole, rising 16% to 129.3 million homes.

Eutelsat has cemented its own position on the market, the number of homes receiving television from a Eutelsat satellite breaking the 200 million barrier for the first time at 204 million.
Central & East Europe showed particular growth, the number of homes receiving cable and satellite services increasing by 16.7%. The percentage of homes in the region that are cable and satellite households stands at 50.9%, up from 43.6% in 2008. The 58.9% of western TV homes with cable or satellite connections remained relatively stable.

Satellite reception has progressed over the two years by 16% from 111.5 million homes in 2008, while cable penetration decreased by 1.8% to 85.2 million homes from 86.8 million in 2008.

In addition to satellite it is IPTV that has eaten into the cable total. IPTV homes have grown by 25.6% to 11.3 million, up from 9 million. This increase was at the expense of cable homes (which decreased by 1.8%) and also of terrestrial TV homes (which decreased by 8.7% to 138.5 million from 151.7 million) despite DTT deployment in Western European countries.

Satellite pay-TV grew by 22.7% and again it is Central & East Europe leading the charge with a massive 63.5% increase that takes the total in the region to 17.5 million.

Poland’s satellite pay-TV market, which expanded to 6.1 million homes from 4.7 million, represents 34.8% of homes in Central and Eastern Europe. The Russian satellite pay-TV market more than doubled, from two million homes in 2008 to 4.7 million in 2010, representing 26.8% of the satellite pay-TV market in the region.

In total of the 129.3 million satellite homes, 51.4 million (39.7%) subscribe to digital pay-TV, up from 41.9 million in 2008.

16-09-2010, 18:36
More digital channels for Croatia

Published: September 16, 2010 Europe/London

Croatia’s Council for Electronic Media (VEM) has awarded digital licences to two TV channels.

MPortal reports that RTL2 and Doma TV will be allocated capacity on the second DTT multiplex, which has national coverage, for a period of 15 years.

In securing the licences, the operators of the two channels (RTL Television Limited and Nova TV, which is part of the CME group) beat off competition from Kapital Network (Net Capital Ltd) and OBN (GRP Media).

Both channels will offer specialised programming, with RTL2 focussed on entertainment and Doma TV, according to CME, high quality content and film premieres.

16-09-2010, 18:38
Sky shuts Bravo after 25 years
Published: September 16, 2010 Europe/London

Bravo, a familiar part of the UK multichannel landscape since 1985, is to close. BSkyB, which acquired the channel as part of its acquisition of Virgin Media Television (renamed as the Living TV Group) will also shut Channel One.

Around 50 jobs will go as part of the integration of the Living TV Group into Sky’s own channel portfolio, though a number are likely to find employment elsewhere within the broadcaster.

Sky will now concentrate its efforts on Living, the popular female skewing channel, and its gameshow stablemate Challenge TV. Both channels will benefit from an increase in their budgets.

Sophie Turner Laing, Sky’s managing director of entertainment, news, and broadcast operations said Sky remained committed to offering its customers the best in pay-TV content. “Living is already one of the best pay-TV channels around and is obviously a great fit with our existing channels like Sky1. There is so much potential for further development and we intend to increase on-screen investment in Living by around a quarter as part of our expanded channel portfolio. This is a big part of our plans to bring customers great content from channel brands that really cut through.”

The closures free up a number of key channel slots. Channel One is on the second page of the Sky EPG at 121 and also has a position on the Freeview DTT platform. Its time-shifted version is at 122 followed by Bravo and Bravo +1 at 123 and 124 respectively.

Living has used a mix of US hits (Cougar Town, Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural, Criminal Minds and Medium) and UK-originated content (Four Weddings, Dating in the Dark and Britain’s Next Top Model) to become the most popular pay-basic channel after Sky One.

Bravo, which has somersaulted through a variety of formats in its 25 years on-air, is perceived to be too close to the entertainment channel. Recent hit Spartacus: Blood and Sand being a far cry from the days of Torchie the Battery Boy reruns.

Its launch in 1985 was as a cable only channel under the wing of United Artists Programming. It joined the Astra satellite in 1993 as part of the Sky Multichannels pay-basic package.

Channel One began life as FTN in January 2003, a showcase for content from the Flextech Television portfolio; it changed its name to Virgin 1 in October 2007 following the merger of the Telewest and NTL cable groups into Virgin Media. After the purchase of Virgin Media Television by Sky it was renamed Channel One and given a distinctly temporary looking logo.

16-09-2010, 18:39
CASBAA announces Convention details

Published: September 16, 2010 Europe/London

CASBAA announced full details of its Convention 2010 to be staged at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong on October 25th – 28th.

Themed Unlock Your Networks, the four-day CASBAA Convention 2010 gathers operators, content providers, satellite services, technology, carriers and ad agencies together to markets in Asia. Full details can be found on their website.

To date, 26 industry leaders have committed their support to the CASBAA Convention 2010, including ABS, Arianespace, AsiaSat, CNBC, Comcast, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, Disney Media Distribution, Eurodata TV, Eurosport, Fashion One, France 24, Globecast, HBO, Invest Hong Kong, MEASAT, MGM Channel, MTV Networks, NHK World, Paul Weiss, Playboy TV, RRsat, Synovate, Tiger Gate, Turner, Universal Networks International and Warner TV, along with more than 30 media partners and trade organisations.

This year’s Convention programme highlights the critical issues shaping the Asian pay-TV industry. With digital media now centre stage, industry thought leaders from across the globe will discuss strategies for capitalizing on the latest market opportunities for subscription television and advertising revenues in Asia.

Asia’s buoyant business environment has fostered increasing investment by countries keen to position themselves as the leading Asian media hub. Invited participants in a high-level discussion on the “Media Hub championship” include senior officials from Malaysia, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, India and Hong Kong.

CASBAA also announced the addition of two new corporate members this month, Indian telecom-to-media industry player, Reliance Communications, part of Reliance ADAG, as well as fashion and entertainment content specialist FashionOne TV.

16-09-2010, 18:40
Austriasat: new satellite platform for Austria

Published: September 16, 2010 Europe/London

Luxembourg-based international DTH operator M7 Group SA will launch a new satellite platform for Austria in conjunction with ORS, the facilities company of Austrian public broadcaster ORF, on October 14.

The new platform will initially offer 14 channels from Sony, ProSiebenSat.1, RTL and MTV, but at least four additional channels are expected before year’s end. Subscription will cost €9.90 monthly, or €7.90 when viewers sign a 12-month contract. The new platform will be available on the Astra position at 19.2 degrees East. The plan is to also launch a dedicated HD bouquet during 2011.

Austriasat’s complete line-up will consist of AXN, Animax, kabelone classics, Sat.1 Comedy, RTL Living, MTV Music, MTV Rocks, MTV Dance, MTV Hits, VH-1, KidsCo, Hustler TV, Marcel Dorcel TV and Alpenglühen (“so sexy ist die Heimat”). People with the Austriasat smart card will automatically have access to the Austrian free-to-view bouquet of ORF, ORF2, ATV, Puls TV and Austria 9 TV.

During 2011, Austriasat will launch an HD bouquet. “We want to be the largest HDTV provider by the middle of next year,” said Olaf Castritius, MD, M7, in a statement. “HDTV should be available to our customers ‘cheap and easy’, according to the price and sales philosophy of our company.” The platform’s goal is to reach 100,000 subscribers by December, 2013.

The M7 Group is active with DTH platforms in The Netherlands (CanalDigitaal Satelliet), Belgium (TV Vlaanderen and TéléSat) and Luxemborug (TéléSat). ORS already operates the satellite services for ORF and is responsible for the smart card handling of their smart cards.

16-09-2010, 18:41
Channels Pink.SI and Pink Makedonija tested in Total TV

Regional digital satellite pay-TV platform Total TV yesterday expanded its programming for two new programs in media production group Pink Media Group. We offer service programs have emerged Pink.si (Slovenia) and Pink Makedonija.

Technical parameters:
Eurobird 16A (16°E) freq 10.796 GHz, pol. V, SR 30000, FEC 3/4, DVB-S/QPSK, CA Videoguard

Programs are broadcast from Eutelsat's transponder, which bought the Slovenian telecommunications company from Ljubljana STN provides some programs to customers Total TV. Slovenian TV channel Pink Pink is identified as SI, and the Macedonian version of Pink 15.

Slovenian version of Pink TV will start broadcasting regular 30 September 2010 and the Slovenian DVB-T B (mux B) as well as many cable, IPTV and MMDS platforms in the country. Station will also supply the Slovenian Total TV.

Pink.si the entertainment channel will offer shows and movies, free information programs. TV will also draw from a rich library RTV Pink. More information about the Macedonian version of Pink TV is still not available.

16-09-2010, 18:42
9E: Kabelkiosk spread of Turkish programs

Satellite operator Eutelsat extended their DTC (direct-to-cable) platform for Turkish KabelKiosk programs. KabelKiosk now includes 18 stations in Turkey, which also offers the KabelKiosk travel through the cable operators to end-viewers.

KabelKiosk now includes a full-format (TRT Türk, Euro D, atv avrupa, Show Turk, Euro Star, Kanal 7, Samanyolu TV Avrupa, E! Entertainment), documentary (TRT Belgesel), music (Kral TV, TRT Muzik), film (Yesilcam TV), news and information (Samanyolu Haber, Habertürk, TRT Haber, Ülke TV NTV Avrupa) and cultural (Mehtap) station in the Turkish language.

Used for distribution purposes KabelKiosk Eurobird satellite capacity on 9A to the position at 9°E. Signals are encrypted Conax and Videoguard system.

16-09-2010, 18:43
Technicolor works on Intel Atom chip

Published: September 16, 2010 Europe/London

Technicolor has announced it will collaborate with Intel on its latest ‘system on a chip’, the Intel Atom processor CE4200, formerly code-named Groveland.
The set-top box manufacturer said it would help it deliver a range of multiscreen enablers that included 3D, games and online video.

“We see the CE4200, and its successors built on Intel architecture, to be a key ingredient to our next wave of success, with millions of households benefiting from our advanced, smart design and strong focus on rich user interfaces” said Vince Pizzica, head of digital delivery at Technicolor.

Already the collaboration has allowed Technicolor to test early prototype silicon, provide technical recommendations to Intel, and prove new STB designs. Technicolor has developed an early 3D Multiview Coding (MVC) and video transcoding demonstration of the chipset capabilities to illustrate its potential in delivering the next generation TV experience.

“Smart TV is transforming the TV experience, bringing Internet services and applications to the viewer,” said Brad Daniels, general manager and vice president, Intel Digital Home Group. “Technicolor shares our vision, and provided its video expertise to help Intel optimize the new Intel Atom CE4200 processor. Taking advantage of the Intel Atom CE4200, Technicolor is poised to deliver a broad array of entertainment options to service providers and their subscribers.”

The first devices from Technicolor are expected to be in production early in 2011.

16-09-2010, 18:45
TiVo to serve MoCA

Published: September 16, 2010 Europe/London

Advanced television services provider TiVo has joined the home entertainment networking standard MoCA as an associate member.
“TiVo has offered multi-room DVR functionality for years and sees the MoCA membership as a potential way to bring home networking to the next level,” said Jim Denney, vice president and general manager of product marketing for TiVo. “Integrating MoCA into our products will enable service providers to offer a simple home networking solution that offers unrivalled Quality of Service (QoS)”.

“HD DVRs are a vital component of the home entertainment system and TiVo’s membership substantiates the standard here in the United States,” added Charles Cerino, MoCA president.

The move is significant for both parties given TiVo’s current international development plans that include deployments in both the UK (Virgin Media) and Spain (ONO). MoCA has also been looking to expand its reach in both Europe and Asia.

16-09-2010, 18:46
Harmonic completes Omneon acquisition

Published: September 16, 2010 Europe/London

Harmonic has finalised its $274 million (€215.53 million) acquisition of the video production and playout solutions provider Omneon. The purchase was initially anticipated to have completed in the summer and just makes it into Q3.

“By bringing together a powerful range of market-leading technologies that span content contribution through delivery, and leveraging strong relationships with content producers and service providers around the globe, Harmonic is now uniquely positioned as a global leader in video infrastructure for the digital media industry,” said Patrick Harshman, President and CEO of Harmonic. “In combination with Omneon, we expect to deepen our relationships with global media companies, enabling them to create, package and deliver the next generation of video-centric media services.”

The acquisition is not expected to have an immediate benefit to Harmonic’s sales revenues, but is anticipated to contribute from 2011.

16-09-2010, 18:47
Motive buys up NXVision

Published: September 16, 2010 Europe/London

Motive Television has acquired the assets of NXVision from the liquidator for £10,000 (€11,970) in cash.
Based in Dunfermline, Scotland, NXVision was founded in 2006 and has developed proprietary software that allows any internet-connected device or mobile phone to obtain and display anything available on a set-top box or internet connected TV.

An agreement has been reached in principal with the founders and key staff of NXVision to formulate a commercial plan for the exploitation of the assets. Once an agreement is reached, a joint venture will be created in which Motive holds an 80% stake and the founders of NXVision 20%.

Motive would like to exploit NXVision’s software enhancing the Bestv technology for which it has the global rights, except in Spain and Italy.

16-09-2010, 18:48
Canvas to be branded as YouView

Published: September 16, 2010 Europe/London

Project Canvas has confirmed that it will go live as YouView. The name for the BBC-led hybrid venture was unveiled alongside a new website that promises a combination of catch-up TV, free-TV, apps and widgets.

Richard Halton, formerly project director, has been appointed as CEO of the newly formed YouView TV Ltd. He will work alongside Kip Meek, the company chairman, appointed in August.
The first application will be a seven-day EPG that goes both backwards and forwards, providing instant access to catch-up TV services from shareholder broadcasters that include the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five. The other shareholders in YouView are BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva.

“YouView is a brilliant new subscription-free TV service which combines the best TV with on demand services and internet content. I am delighted to be leading the team who will make it a reality and think it will change the way we watch TV forever,” said Halton. Previously the head of the BBC’s corporate strategy team, Halton has led Project Canvas from its inception. He is also a former board member of Freeview.

The launch of YouView/Canvas has not been without its detractors, Sky and Virgin Media have led the chorus of disapproval. The 50% of the UK with pay-TV subscriptions are likely to ignore the service in favour of Virgin Media’s TiVo or Sky’s own hybrid plans Sky+ Anytime.

“There’s a pressing need for a thorough and independent examination of this closed, anti-competitive platform as it will restrict consumer choice and stifle innovation,” said a Virgin Media spokesperson. “We’re all already paying for this through the licence fee, whether we want it or not, so we urge Ofcom to bring some much needed transparency to the whole collaboration.”

YouView is anticipating a launch in the first half of 2011. The initial set-top boxes will be designed for the Freeview DTT platform and include a personal video recorder. The new company will choose from the 40 manufacturers that have expressed an interest in managing devices for the platform.

Viewers will be able to simply search for the kind of programmes they like by genre, interest or locality, including films, sports and new content from the internet. Plans to offer an applications store will also give viewers new types of services and levels of interactivity with their favourite programmes.

Like Freeview and Freesat before it, YouView will be marketed under the buy once, no subscription mantra, although consumers will need to have a broadband connection. YouView currently has no payment mechanism of its own. However, subscriber management company MGt has already stepped forward with a proposal for a unified payment system known as PayWizard.

The various interactive applications will be built on top of the Digital TV Group’s Connected TV specifications. At IBC 2010 by Simon Gauntlett, the technical director of the DTG, explained the differences between HBB and the DTG’s Connected TV (CTV) specifications as being. “Enhanced security handling and advanced metadata handling.” This suggests that a possible coming together with HBB and its commercial implementation HBBtv may ultimately be possible.

16-09-2010, 18:49
Canvas becomes YouView

Following its incorporation as YouView TV Ltd at the end of last week, Project Canvas, the proposed joint venture between the BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, Channel 5, Talk Talk and Arqiva to build a standards based, open Internet-connected TV environment, is being rebranded as YouView, and has launched a new website – www.youview.com (http://www.sat-universe.com/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youview.com) – for viewers, partners and developers. Project leader Richard Halton is to be the CEO, while also confirmed as ‘Innovation Partners’ are Technicolor, Humax and Cisco.

“We are creating an exciting consumer brand which will stand for a better TV experience for UK homes. Connected TV creates all kinds of creative possibilities, for existing networks as well as local services and new developers of interactive applications,” said Halton. “It all adds up to great news for TV audiences. I look forward to working closely with the creative and developer communities to open up exciting possibilities for viewers to discover and enjoy content in new ways.”

Halton also revealed that YouView users would have access to pay content, be able to go online and find on-demand subscription content. “That means, all of a sudden, the free-to-air platforms, which typically have been the ones with the least choice, suddenly see this explosion of choice and content,” he said “It’s going to take the Freeview platform, which risked being left behind, and keep it in step with all other offerings on the market.”

According to Halton, the seven million homes with Freeview and broadband constitute YouView’s core market. “Our research suggested that 870,000 homes would go online to get YouView – that’s a big number,” he claimed. YouView is expected to launch in the first half of 2011.

16-09-2010, 18:50
Government undecided on News Corp-BSkyB review

The UK government has not yet decided whether to refer for review the proposed takeover of pay-TV group BSkyB by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, it said, responding to a report a review was likely.

The BBC said Business Secretary Vince Cable was likely to ask the media regulator Ofcom to look at the impact of any takeover and whether it would reduce the plurality of voices within the British media sector.

News Corp, which has said it wants to buy the 61 per cent of the dominant pay-TV group it does not already own, also owns British newspapers The Sun, sister paper the News of the World and the Times and Sunday Times.

“The Secretary of State has not made a decision on this matter — indeed at this stage there is not even a decision for him to take,” the Department for Business said in a statement. “We will not be speculating on this issue.”

16-09-2010, 18:51
Consumers remain confused by subscription HDTV

According to a Populus poll commissioned by TVonics, confusion still reigns over in the UK whether or not its necessary to pay a subscription based service in order to watch and record HD TV.

When asked “What monthly subscription charge do you need to pay in order to watch and record HDTV channels like BBC HD and ITV HD?”, less than half of all 2,031 adults surveyed (42 per cent) knew that it’s not necessary to pay a monthly subscription in order to watch and record HD TV programmes, including 51 per cent of men and 32 per cent of women.

Of the remaining respondents – 15 per cent thought a subscription was required in order to watch HD TV, including 7 per cent who thought it was necessary to pay more than £10 per month. Just under half (43 per cent) admitted to not knowing what monthly subscription charge, if any, was required to watch and record HD TV.

“Its clear from the findings that there is still a majority of consumers who are confused by the fact that it’s not necessary to pay a subscription to watch and record Freeview HD TV,” said Andy Carr, CTO, TVonics.

16-09-2010, 18:52
BBC Trust freezes licence fee for two years

The BBC Trust has proposed to Government that the licence fee should be frozen at its current level of £145.50 (E173) for the remaining two years of the current settlement, through to March 2013. This would mean taking an estimated £144 million out of planned BBC budgets.

Outgoing BBC Trust chairman, Sir Michael Lyons, said: “The Trust remains committed to the principle of ring-fenced multi-year licence fee settlements. It is a key part of the BBC’s independence that the Government grants such settlements and does not re-open them before they come to an end.

“However, we also recognise that the British public is facing an exceptionally tough financial climate. In June, as part of the Trust’s role in ensuring value for money at the BBC, we asked the Executive to see if they could make further savings on top of the existing three per cent year-on-year efficiencies, so that the BBC does not ask licence fee payers to pay any more than they need to for BBC services.”

16-09-2010, 18:53
Toshiba Yahoo connect into more TVs

Toshiba has unveiled new HD TVs featuring Yahoo software that allows viewers to watch content streamed from the Internet. “Yahoo is reaching consumers wherever they view content… partnering with Toshiba enables us to deliver a rich variety of Internet content to the living rooms of millions more people,” said Connected TV vice president Ron Jacoby.

Worldwide sales of Internet-enabled TVs are predicted to rise to more than 87 million units by 2013, according to Jacoby.

17-09-2010, 12:22
RASCOM-QAF1R at target position of 2.8 E

New African telecommunications satellite RASCOM-QAF1R was parked at its planned orbital position 2.8 degree east, where it soon will replace the satellite RASCOM-QAF1. He is already at the end of his short life. Satellite served only three years.

Satellite RASCOM-QAF1R features a total of 12 transponders in Ku and another eight in the C band. Its signal coverage of the entire African continent, a part of Europe and the Middle East. Life expectancy of a new space system is 15 years. Signals from the new satellite will be taken from the C zone in the region of Central Europe.

17-09-2010, 12:24
UK: 2015 - too early for the digital radio

An advisory group criticizes UK government plans to transition to digital broadcasting radio, claiming that 2,015 years is too early deadline. The expert group said in a report to the Ministry of Culture, Media and Sport that he is concerned about the shortcomings of research in consumer preferences regarding the purchase of digital receivers. Recommended that the threshold which has a date of transition to digital broadcasting, has been increased.

According to the advisory group, the deadline should be set at a time when the country 30% of students will benefit from an analog radio, and not 50%.

Due to the slow pace of increasing demand, it is absurd to expect that the remaining 50 percent. move to digital radio in two years - the report said, adding that the group is worried that the industry can use marketing to the "pushing" consumer digital receivers. Group also criticized the UK Digital Radio for marketing activities, which, according to the CEG, to mislead the audience.

17-09-2010, 12:26
Zaslav Likes Oprah, Online
Says TV Everywhere Attractive if Measured, Monetized

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav said Thursday that he would embrace online delivery of content if it could be monetized, and reiterated that the upcoming launch of the Oprah Winfrey Network could mean a big boost in carriage fees.
Discovery has been slow to embrace online content delivery, instead opting to use its web sites to deliver snippets of video aimed at driving viewership of its TV channels. Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment conference in Newport Beach, Calif., Zaslav said that could change with the onset of TV Everywhere,and an ability to monetize that content.
"Our deals provide that distributors have the right to our content through to the TV set," Zaslav said. "We have been very careful about not putting our content out onto other platforms when the economic model doesn't support it. TV Everywhere is actually something we are very encouraged by. If we can get our content through TV Everywhere authorized out onto the web and Nielsen can measure it or someone can measure it so we can monetize it, it would be very attractive."
While TV Everywhere offers a future revenue opportunity, Zaslav was equally encouraged by the impact the January launch of OWN could have on carriage fees for the network.
Zaslav said that currently Discovery Health - which OWN is essentially taking over - gets minuscule carriage fees compared to other Discovery networks (SNL Kagan estimates the channel gets an average of 12 cents per subscriber per month from distributors). That should change once Oprah takes control.
"We think there is a meaningful opportunity if we can build a strong network with the Oprah brand and all the resources that we're putting on it," Zaslav said. "We're bringing a lot of value to the cable industry - Oprah herself coming to cable is a big value. If we can build that, our position is that we should be able to get value over time. We are having discussions with distributors now and those are ongoing."
Zaslav wouldn't say what the network will be asking for in carriage fees. Several reports have estimated the network could attract between 40 cents and 50 cents per subscriber per month.
Zaslav was also encouraged by what he characterized as a strong upfront market, which should drive increases in advertising. He added that ad revenue was up 13% in the second quarter and guidance for the third quarter was for another 13% or more increase.
"We will be [up] more," Zaslav said.
The Discovery CEO also had high praise for the ID: Investigation Discovery network which he said is the fastest growing networks in the Discover Communications fold. And while he said that all of Discovery's networks are profitable, FitTV and Military Channel may undergo some changes in the future.
"Some of our channels we are trying to figure out what's the best use," Zaslav said. "They are profitable today and if we had our way we would build those channels ourselves. FitTV and Military are two of the channels that we're trying to think of, for now they're profitable but what could they be to have a bigger audience, a stronger brand, a bigger contribution. We have been investing less in those channels as we look at our opportunities either with a joint venture opportunity, which we would only do if we thought that somebody brought something to the table that would make the channel that was significantly more valuable, like an Oprah or Hasbro."

17-09-2010, 12:28
TNT Picks Up The Beat

TNT has picked up 10 more episodes of freshman crime drama, Memphis Beat.
The show, starring Jason Lee and Alfre Woodard, debuted in June and was Tuesday night's top-rated show in the 25-54 demo, according to TNT. It will return sometime in 2011. The series averaged 4.7 million watchers on a live+7-day basis, according to Nielsen data.

That makes five shows TNT has renewed this year, following pick-ups of The Closer, freshman star Rizzoli & Isles, Leverage and HawthoRNe.

17-09-2010, 12:30
ACA To FCC: Reclassifying Broadband Without NPRM Violates Law

The American Cable Association went to the Federal Communications Commission in person (actually "persons") this week to advise them that aside from the policy problems in reclassifying broadband transmissions as a Title II common carrier service, it would be violating the law to do so -- at least as presently proposed.

Because the agency is changing the classification of a service under an existing rule, and not changing the rule, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski and general counsel Austin Schlick have argued that it can be done in a declaratory ruling rather than through the rulemaking process.

But ACA has argued, as its representatives did most recently in a meeting with Schlick and other FCC attorneys according to a copy of the ex parte disclosure, that Title II would impose new regulatory burdens and paperwork requirements on its small and medium-sized cable/telco operator constituency.

The FCC issued a notice of inquiry collecting comment on various proposals, including the chairman's so-called "third way" approach of only applying a few Titel II regs and forbearing (not applying) the rest, applying all of Title II, and leaving it under Title I. That regime was called into question by the federal court ruling that the FCC did not properly identify its authority for sanctioning Comcast for blocking peer-to-peer file uploads. Title II would be a way to clarify that and other authority.

But ACA said an inquiry does not cut it.

"The Commission cannot lawfully proceed directly from the NOI to a declaratory ruling that alters the status quo by imposing new regulatory and legal obligations on providers. Rather, the Commission must first issue a notice of proposed rulemaking and publish that notice in the Federal Register, two steps that the Commission has failed to take in this case."

Otherwise, said ACA, the FCC would be violating the Administrative Procedures Act and the REgulatory Flexibility Act.

If the FCC does go the Title II route--stakeholders, though not ACA, are trying to come up with compromise legislative language that would clarify the FCC's Internet access authority--ACA wants says the commission must either "conduct a rulemaking proceeding prior to changing the regulatory status of broadband Internet service, and/or stay the effectiveness of any reclassification (or reclassification and forbearance) decision until it can complete the rulemaking proceedings that would be required for implementation of and compliance with its decision."

It is unclear when, or even whether, the FCC will proceed with Title II reclassifiation. It has encouraged the stakeholders in their effort to find common ground, and recently cited agreement on most issues save for managed services and applying openness guidelines to wireless broadband.

But during a recent speech in Washington, Genachowski said in order to continue to promote innovation, the FCC needed an "enforceable framework to preserve the free and open Internet."

17-09-2010, 12:32
Pennsylvania's Blue Ridge Calls ITV Play For Football

Blue Ridge Communications, the 19th-largest U.S. cable operator, has launched the My Football Tracker interactive TV application developed by FourthWall Media for tracking National Football League players and teams.
The app is written to CableLabs' Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format specification and runs on FourthWall's EBIF user agent and headend platform.
According to FourthWall, other operators plan to launch the EBIF football app this NFL season, but the company did not identify them. In 2007, Time Warner Cable rolled out the company's interactive fantasy-football tracker in five markets.
Blue Ridge is making My Football Tracker available to all digital subscribers for no additional charge. With the push of one button on the remote, viewers can see up-to-the-minute scores and stats of individual NFL players as well as their fantasy rosters, as well as player and team weekly and year-to-date stats.
Palmerton, Pa.-based Blue Ridge provides service in northeastern and southeastern Pennsylvania. It counts 174,000 basic cable subscribers.

17-09-2010, 12:33
AT&T To Squeeze Four HD Streams Into U-verse TV Homes

AT&T will let U-verse TV customers access up to four high-definition channels simultaneously by the end of the year, thanks to a combination of DSL upgrades and improvements in MPEG-4 compression.

Until now, AT&T has allowed customers of the IPTV service to access a maximum of three HD channels at once, because of bandwidth constraints.

John Stankey, president and CEO of the AT&T Operations division, made the announcement at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment investor conference Thursday.

"We've moved from four standard-definition streams at the onset [when U-verse TV launched in 2006] to at the end of this year introducing four HD streams in a household," he said.

Also, by the end of this year, U-verse TV customers will be able to use trick-play controls to pause and rewind live TV from any television in the house, Stankey said.

The U-verse business is on track to bring in $4 billion in revenue for 2010, he added. AT&T added 209,000 subscribers in the second quarter -- more than 70% of the net adds among multichannel video distributors, according to Stankey. As of June 30, AT&T counted 2.5 million U-verse TV customers.

The increase in HD streams per household also will let most U-verse TV customers record three HD shows and one SD show at the same time with a whole-home DVR. The upgrade is rolling out on "a market-by-market basis to new and existing customers over the next several months," an AT&T spokeswoman said.

According to AT&T, it is able to deliver four HD channels simultaneously because it has over time delivered higher downstream bandwidth and has improved the compression efficiencies it is able to achieve with MPEG-4.

17-09-2010, 12:36
New EPG Info for expire on 30 September 2010


17-09-2010, 12:39
ARD to scrap digital channel(s)?

Published: September 17, 2010 Europe/London

The German public broadcaster ARD is considering scrapping one or all three of its digital thematic channels, according to a report in Die Zeit as part of cost controlling measures.
At the moment, ARD operates three digital channels, Eins Festival, Eins Plus and Eins Extra. The total costs of these channels, that mainly specialise in repeats of programming from ARD Das Erste, are believed to be between €3-4 million per year.

However, the broadcaster is not free to just stop a digital channel, as they operate under a licence from the German Laender (states), which have just issued the broadcaster with a three- year programme plan in which they outline the type of content they are supposed to broadcast.

17-09-2010, 12:40
Warner to premiere US shows on iTunes

Published: September 17, 2010 Europe/London

Warner Bros has announced it will premiere a number of its US shows in the UK on the iTunes store.
Episodes from three US shows, Nikita, The Vampire Diaries: Season Two, and Gossip Girl: Season 4 will be made available the day after each show airs in the US.

Every Friday for Nikita and The Vampire Diaries, and every Tuesday for Gossip Girl, viewers will be able to download new episodes from iTunes.

The move to offer these episodes immediately after airing in the US seems to be a counter measure against the practice that US shows become immediately available illegally on the internet.

17-09-2010, 12:43
MTV sues Turkish distributor after non-payment

Published: September 17, 2010 Europe/London

MTV Networks has filed a London High Court suit claiming that its Turkish distributor has failed to pay it for the transmission of both MTV and sister channel Nickelodeon.
The Viacom-owned company says that Multi Channel Developers (MCD), which also represents the BBC, Eurosport and Euronews, has reneged on its agreement and is seeking a court order that would take the local versions of the channels off the air along with unspecified damages.

MCD has represented MTV in the Turkish market since 2005. The channel launched in November 2006, but in May 2010 it abruptly left the Digiturk platform, though remaining on cable and free-to-air satellite. A month later it was reported locally that MTV had cancelled the contract with its distributor.

17-09-2010, 12:44
UPC Romania ups the ante

Published: September 17, 2010 Europe/London

UPC Romania has revamped its offer in order to compete more effectively with its rivals RCS/RDS and Romtelecom.
It is now allowing its subscribers to create their own double or triple play packages, allowing for maximum flexibility. In practice, this means that they can opt for internet access at speeds of 3, 15 or 25 Mbps, with subscription fees reduced by 30%.

They are also being offered digital TV for the same price as analogue TV, with one package – Optim – costing RON20 (€4.70) a month, excluding VAT, to receive.

Although UPC has been gaining digital cable subscribers (it claimed 254,000 as of the end of Q2), its overall TV subscriber total has been falling.

RCS/RDS is Romania’s leading cable operator, while Romtelecom has a fast-growing cable arm named NextGen.

17-09-2010, 12:46
Volia improves internet offer

Published: September 17, 2010 Europe/London

The leading Ukrainian cable operator Volia has introduced new DOCSIS 3.0-based internet offer for its subscribers.
Available in all parts of the capital, Kiev, it allows for access speeds of up to 150 Mbps and costs UAH199.90 (€19) a month, including usage of reception equipment, to receive. However, subscribers to the Volia Premium TV package are being offered the service for a reduced monthly fee of UAH169.90 a month.

Volia began using DOCSIS 3.0 this March. A triple play company, it currently has around 1.7 million subscribers, of who over 400,000 opt for its high-speed internet access services.

17-09-2010, 12:48
SVT plans second HD channel

Published: September 17, 2010 Europe/London

Swedish public broadcaster SVT is to rebrand its high definition channel SVT HD as SVT1 HD. The move will take place on Monday, September 20 ahead of the November launch of SVT2 HD.
SVT1 HD will be available from the start to viewers of the existing channel that includes distribution via Comhem, Viasat, Canal Digital, Telia, and Tele2. It is planned that SVT1 HD will be made available on the Boxer DTT network from the autumn, as will the new channel.

The broadcaster says that an increasing number of programmes are being produced in the HD format. SVT1 HD will have the same schedule as its standard definition counterpart with the exception of regional programming.

17-09-2010, 12:49
Swiss confirm free choice of set-tops
Published: September 17, 2010 Europe/London

The Federal Council of Switzerland has confirmed plans to allow subscribers of digital television services a free reign in their choice of set-top box. It is now proposing that that Parliament revises the Radio and Television Act.

The move follows a consultation by the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC/UVEK) into the opening of a horizontal market for digital television receivers, criticised as unnecessary by operators including the Liberty Global-owned Cablecom, already in the process of offering CI Plus modules to its subscribers.

It is unlikely that the ruling will become law before 2012.

17-09-2010, 12:51
Portuguese pay-TV market grows

Published: September 17, 2010 Europe/London

Portugal ended the second quarter with 4,043,000 cable homes, according to data produced by the regulator ANACOM.
Although the figure was 0.8% up on the previous quarter, it was a surprising 5.1% lower than 12 months earlier.

The latter was due to the elimination of duplicate reporting of cable homes following the take-over of Bragatel, Pluricanal Leiria and TVTel by Zon TV Cabo, the country’s leading cable operator.

As of the end of Q2, the Lisbon are had the greatest concentration of cable homes, accounting for 45% of the total.

Meanwhile in the DTH sector, the total number of homes receiving service at the end of Q2 stood at 657,000, or 0.5% more than three months earlier and 10% higher than at the end of Q2 2009.

Strong growth was seen in the take-up of FTTH/FTTB, with the number of subscribers at the end of Q2 being 84,000, as opposed to only 6,000 a year earlier. The vast majority of these (86%) were found in Lisbon and the north of the country.

In total, cable accounted for 54.3% of total TV subscribers, followed by DTH (24.8%), FTTH/FTTB (3.2%) and other technologies (17.7%). Grupo ZON/TV Cabo accounted for 60.8% of all subscribers.

17-09-2010, 12:52
YouView leaves payment mechanism to content partners

Published: September 17, 2010 Europe/London

EXCLUSIVE: YouView will let content providers decide on how they manage the payment mechanisms on the connected TV platform. In a Broadband TV News interview, Richard Halton, the newly appointed CEO of the former Project Canvas said the platform would also be opened to developers to create their own apps.
“The consumer logic says have a single payment gateway, it’s easier for people to use, you centralise all the billing, etc,” said Halton. “I think the problem is with the philosophy behind YouView you’re trying to keep control of the payment mechanism with the content provider. YouView is not for profit, it’s not going to own content, it’s not going to sell content for itself. So for us it doesn’t seem appropriate that it then controls the payment gateway.”

Subscriber management company MGt recently launched PayWizard, a pre-paid e-wallet that securely supports micropayment transactions in multiple currencies. The company has made no secret of it ambitions to run a payment system on Canvas, but if it does so it will now need to do so through individual contracts.

Halton explained that YouView devices – the first DTT box is due out in the first half of 2011 – would be capable of supporting a variety of different payment methods and in his explanation used the example of one of the platform’s fiercest critics. “That would allow Sky to authenticate the device so if you’ve got a Sky Player subscription on your YouView box gives you instant access to everything without any additional payment because it knows you’re a subscriber, through to making sure that the technical requirements for making a micropayment service or offering Paypal are all there. It will then be up to content providers to decide who they use as a payment gateway.”

With over 40 manufacturers now committed to YouView, Halton said that the announcement of the first content providers would be made in the next four to six weeks. There will also be details of ISPs in addition to shareholders BT and TalkTalk. YouView’s other shareholders are the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel Five and Arqiva.

The platform will also be ‘opened up’ to content creators large and small with more than a nod to the Apple App Store. “The idea is to have a full blown developer community,” explained Halton. “Even the guys on our team who are developing the core services they can come in on the Monday having played around with things that we could launch on the platform. I can see it already amongst the team and I think that will be a big part of it”.

A certification system will ensure that everything is tested before it goes onto the platform.

17-09-2010, 12:53
Ukrainian ICTV will encode broadcasts of football matches

In mid-September 2010 Ukrainian commercial television ICTV, broadcasting in FTA satellite Amos 2 @ 4 ° W, has surprisingly been encoded in Viaccess PC2.6. ICTV due to limitations of broadcasting rights will encode broadcasts of football matches.

18-09-2010, 13:48
13E: Cyfrowa Polsat Changed of FEC on another transponder

Poland's largest satellite pay-TV Cyfrowa Polsat today went to a planned adaptation of another of his FEC DVB-S transponder. Change affected subscribers as packet Cyfrowa Polsat, Cyfra, TP and the audience FTA programs.

Multiplex platforms Cyfrowa Polsat contains station Polsat, Polsat 2 Polsat Play, News Polsat, Polsat Sport, Polsat Sport Extra (all encrypted) and also freely broadcast stations TV Biznes.

Technical parameters:
Hot Bird 6 (13°E) freq 11.158 GHz, pol. V, SR 27500, FEC 5/6, DVB-S/QPSK

FEC with the above-mentioned transponder changed from 3/4 to 5/6, thereby increasing the multiplex capacity of approximately 4 Mbit/s. Capacity obtained can be used for launching new services or improve existing programs provided.

18-09-2010, 13:49
Beam me down

Satellite operators are treating Central and Eastern Europe as an increasingly important market for their activities.

That was certainly the message that came across at this year’s IBC, where Eutelsat, SES Astra, Telenor, Spacecom and Hellas Sat all had a strong presence.

In a seminar organised by SES Astra, the company admitted that it had all but neglected the region for two decades whilst focusing its activities on Western Europe. However, all that changed some 3-4 years ago and it has since enjoyed considerable success despite the recent loss of UPC Direct, one of its key clients.

One of those that remains – Skylink, the pre-pay DTH platform that serves the Czech Republic and Slovakia – nevertheless goes from strength to strength. Jaromir Glisnik, the CEO of Ostrava-based TradeTec, its joint operator, revealed that the service now has a combined total of 1.2 million customers in the two countries. What is more, it has recently been growing at an unprecedented rate, selling a record 80,000 cards in the month following a clampdown on piracy by the rival platform Digi TV in August.

Another interesting statistic he revealed was that between 15-17% of Skylink’s customers now opt for some form of pay-TV.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia are undoubtedly SES Astra’s key markets in the CEE region, where they also provide services to – amongst others – the Czech/Slovak DTH platform CS Link and Poland’s TVP. However, it also has a number of clients in the Baltic Republics, Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria and Romania, which it covers via the 5 degrees East orbital slot.

What is more, its coverage of Russia and the CIS will be considerably strengthened from mid-2013 onwards, when it starts to employ the 31.5 degrees East position.

Hellas Sat meanwhile has ambitious plans for the CEE region, where it is employed by Bulgaria’s Bulsatcom and Romania’s Dolce (Romtelecom). The OTE-back company aims to launch a second satellite at a still-to-be-announced date to meet increasing demand from its clients.

OTE is also expected to launch a DTH platform serving its home market, Greece, at the end of this year.

Israel’s Spacecom, which operates the Amos series of satellites, is even more ambitious and aims to become a global player within the next five years. Within CEE, it sees itself as already one of the leading players and certainly on a par with Eutelsat, having been present in some markets for over 10 years. Its clients in the region include HBO Central Europe, Magio (Slovakia), T-Home (Hungary) and Inter and 1+1 (Ukraine).

18-09-2010, 13:51
News Corp’s Carey: ’3D not the second coming of HD’

The entry of 3D into the home “isn’t the second coming of HD, and if you say it will have the speed of adoption that HD had, I’m not buying that” Chase Carey president, deputy chairman and COO of News Corp has told a Hollywood audience.

Carey predicts that 3D-TV will grow to occupy only a niche role in the future home-entertainment landscape, confined to viewing of primarily sports and movies. “I don’t think you’ll pop home and watch 8 o’clock TV with 3D glasses on. The (adoption) will be somewhat different than HD. That was a situation where, if you had two other networks doing it, you didn’t want to be left out.”

In terms of emerging digital technologies, Carey was more bullish on Apple’s iPad, calling it the first mobile device to effectively channel traditional media. “It makes a book feel like a book, and a TV show feel like a TV show”, Carey said.

18-09-2010, 13:52
Discovery: TV Everywhere has to be monetised

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav said that he would embrace online delivery of content if it could be monetised. Discovery has been slow to embrace online content delivery, instead opting to use its web sites to deliver snippets of video aimed at driving viewership of its TV channels.

“Our deals provide that distributors have the right to our content through to the TV set,” Zaslav said. “We have been very careful about not putting our content out onto other platforms when the economic model doesn’t support it. TV Everywhere is actually something we are very encouraged by. If we can get our content through TV Everywhere authorised out onto the web and Nielsen can measure it or someone can measure it so we can monetise it, it would be very attractive.”

18-09-2010, 13:53
Disney, Nielsen TV companion iPad app

Disney and Nielsen have partnered to launch a free iPad app that can turn the device into a companion screen for content and social media synchronised to a TV programme.

The My Generation Sync iPad App will be available a week ahead of the premiere of the new ABC series it will supplement, ‘My Generation’. Users who download the app can multi-task between the TV experience and the iPad, which will display polls, trivia and other content timed to be relevant to what is transpiring in the ‘Generation’ storylines. The app will also have a social-media element, enabling sharing, posting to Twitter, as well as “liking” to Facebook, though actual feeds won’t be integrated until later iterations of the app.

While the episode is intended for broadcast to bring together as many viewers as possible, the app can also be utilised for those watching a DVR recording.

18-09-2010, 13:54
Fry’s guide to 3D TV

Stephen Fry, the comic and self-confessed technophile has produced a short-film – in association with Sky – which takes a look at 3D TV and how it works, without the jargon. Fry said: “3D TV in the home is going to be the next exciting chapter in television history and I’m delighted to be able to offer a little clarity on the subject.”

Sky 3D, set to become Europe’s first 3D channel, will show live sports, films and documentaries to the millions of Sky+HD customers at no extra charge. Brian Lenz, Sky’s director of TV product development, said: “Stephen’s guide is a great, simple ‘one-stop’ video that will help provide some understanding around 3D television and show viewers how simple it is to become 3D ready”.

18-09-2010, 13:55
Bell TV launches VOD service

Bell has announced the launch of Bell TV On Demand, the first national VOD service available to Canadian satellite TV subscribers. Bell TV On Demand is also the first to offer satellite customers on-demand access to select titles in HD resolution.

Movies cost $6.99 per title for up to 48-hour access, and are available instantly by remote. New titles will be made available every week.

18-09-2010, 13:57
Al-Arabiya Chief Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed Postpones Resignation

Dubai, –The Director General of the Al-Arabiya News Channel, Abdul-Rahman al-Rashed has announced that he is postponing his resignation as head of Al-Arabiya, and also denied reports that he has been suspended from writing for Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. In a statement issued by Al-Rashed, he stressed that he was surprised by the attempts made by some to "turn an unintended editorial blunder into a political matter, under different labels, wrongly implicating colleagues both at Al Arabiya and Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper." The statement added that "all of these claims were fabricated and inaccurate to their last detail."

A number of Arab newspapers and news websites have claimed that Al-Rashed has been suspending from writing for Asharq Al-Awsat, although Asharq Al-Awsat Editor in Chief, Tariq Alhomayed, has stressed that these reports are completely untrue, clarifying that al-Rashed himself had taken the decision to stop sending articles to the newspaper.

As for his resignation as Director General of Al-Arabiya, Al-Rashed clarified that he has postponed his resignation for the time being, and that he intends to continue working for the MBC group – that owns Al-Arabiya – in any appropriate capacity. Al-Rashed also revealed that he received a telephone call from the Chairman of the MBC group, Sheikh Waleed Bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, officially informing him that his resignation was not being accepted.

In the statement issued by al-Rashed, he said "I confirm that I will remain with MBC group in any appropriate capacity. Accordingly, I am postponing my resignation for the time being, to have more time to think, ponder, and work."

He added that "it is unfortunate that some have tried to capitalize on the inadvertence that occurred on-screed in order to harm the channel itself, and actually launch an attack against it, simply because Al-Arabiya has become a foremost beacon in the media scene, something that doesn't sit well with them."

Al-Rashed also said that "the nature of my job requires me to assume responsibility for everything that is aired; this is part of the ethics and duties of this profession, I’m not coming up with anything new. Al-Arabiya today is not just a news channel; it actually embodies rationality, moderation, objectivity and balance in Arab society, which are quite rare nowadays and which is naturally what makes us a direct target to those who oppose this. Al-Arabiya did not only rectify some misconceptions during the past seven years but, it also straightened out the trajectory of Arab media and paved its way towards a better path. This achievement is common ground shared by all that work for Al-Arabiya, and not specific to any one individual."

As for rumours about mass resignations at Al-Arabiya, al-Rashed's statement reiterated what the MBC Chairman said previously, stressing that "these are stories that are absolutely devoid of truth, and have nothing to do at all with my resignation, which is a strictly administrative matter. Some have tried as hard as they could to make a big issue out of it; the MBC Group includes more than 1,500 people, most of whom are armed with skills, talent, experience and real passion for their jobs."

For his part, MBC Chairman Sheikh Walid Bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim issued a statement on Wednesday confirming that the news about mass resignations at Al-Arabiya "is fabricated and devoid of truth."

Asharq Al-Awsat Editor in Chief, Tariq Alhomayed, categorically denied that Asharq Al-Awsat has suspended al-Rashed from publication, and in statements to the Saudi Arabian "al-Madina" newspaper last week, Mr. Alhomayed revealed that al-Rashed had chosen to stop sending articles to the newspaper, and that Asharq Al-Awsat has not received an article from him for a number of days. Tariq Alhomayed told al-Madina that "we have tried to get in contact with him over the past two days, and the officials in charge of the opinion pages at the newspaper have [also] tried to contact him, but we have not been able to." He added "We have not had any response from him until now, and in my capacity as Editor in Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat I repeat and reiterate that the newspaper has not sent any messageto al-Rashed informing him to stop [writing]; this is completely untrue."

20-09-2010, 17:33
Al-Jazeera to launch Balkan regional TV in 2011: report

Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera will launch a regional television channel in the Balkans in January, Bosnian daily Dnevni Avaz reported today. The seat of its regional project, Al-Jazeera Balkans, would be based in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Hercegovina, a Balkan country with an important Muslim community.

Al-Jazeera bought local TV channel NTV 99 for 1.2 million euros ($1.56 million) and plans to invest a further 10 million euros by the end of this year, the daily said. The company published an ad in local papers on Friday looking for a managing director for its Balkans branch. “Al-Jazeera Balkans will be a leader in providing high quality news and current affairs…in the region, and will have offices throughout the Balkans and bureaus in key locations worldwide,” the ad said.

Dnevni Avaz reported that the channel would hire around 40 journalists in the region, mostly in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia.

20-09-2010, 17:34
Russian TV channel broadcasting again in Tajikistan

Russian TV channel RTR-Planeta resumed broadcasting September 15 in Tajikistan’s Sughd and Khatlon oblasts, Ferghana.ru reported. Technical difficulties reportedly prevented a nationwide roll-out. Tajikistan blocked the Russian state channel from Tajik airwaves in early 2009, citing unpaid debts. The station regained access to Tajikistan after an 18 August Sochi summit between Russian and Tajik presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Emomali Rakhmon. No other Russian channel can broadcast in Tajikistan. Others are viewable there only by satellite TV.

20-09-2010, 17:35
3D TV without glasses

Toshiba recently announced they’re currently developing a 3D TV that won’t require the users to wear custom glasses. As soon as Toshiba’s steam started picking up, Sony was quick to launch their counter offer by announcing yesterday they too are developing 3D TV’s with no glasses required. The 3D glasses have been a burden to couch potatoes since they cost $130 – $250 a piece. The glasses are battery powered, fragile, ugly, and annoying to wear. Conventional 3D TV’s had mixed reviews from consumers and some even passed up on it because they refuse to wear the 3D Glasses.

Sony Vice President Yoshihisa Ishida told the press: “Seeing 3D without glasses is more convenient.” It will definitely do consumers a favor if they can somehow pull this off, but how does the 3D TV with no glasses work? According to Yomiuri Shimbun Toshiba’s Glass free 3D TV technology have an integral imaging system that emits rays of light at different angles, allowing viewers’ brains to recreate 3-D images without special glasses. The new technology also will enable viewers to enjoy 3-D content from numerous viewing positions, and the images will not strain the eyes, the sources said.

There has been no official announcement from Toshiba when they plan to release this new technology but some reports indicate they might be available as soon as this holiday season itself. Meanwhile, Sony is still considering the price involved in developing this technology before they start to offer it in the market. Current models of 3D LED TV’s are sold at around $1,500 – $4,000. Reports indicate the price of a 3D TV with no glasses required hovers around $1,500 and up.

20-09-2010, 17:36
Canal+ adds three HD channels

On October 12, Canal+ will add three HD channels to its premium offer, Canal+ Cinema HD, Canal+ Family HD and Canal+ Decale HD. Until now, only the main Canal+ and Canal+ Sport are available in HD.

The pay TV operator launched Canal+ Sport HD last June for its subscribers on satellite and IPTV; the HD versions of the three thematic Canal+ will first be rolled out on satellite DTH and progressively on IPTV as part of the CanalSat offer. At the same time, CanalSat is also adding a new channel to its line-up, TV8 Mont Blanc (in SD) from October 12.

CanlSat’s HD bouquet also includes HD versions of the main terrestrial channels TF1 HD, France 2 HD, Arte HD and M6 HD as well as thematic channels CineCinema Premiere HD, Disney Cinemagic HD, Eurosport HD, 13eme Rue HD, SyFy Universal HD, Discovery HD, Ushaia HD, National Geographic HD, MTV HD and Brava HDTV.

CanalSat also announced that two channels it carries will change their names, Odyssee will become Stylia and Virgin 17 will turn into Direct Star.

The platform also announced the availability of its channels on the Apple iPad following an earlier introduction of the channels on the iPhone and iPod Touch. All the premium Canal+ channels have become available on the tablet, both for WiFi and for 3G connections. This includes the Canal+ A La Demand VOD service. In addition, CanalSat also made available about 30 thematic channels on the iPad, including Infosport, L’Equipe TV, InfoSport, MTV, MCM Top. June, Canal J, Teletoons and others.

20-09-2010, 17:37
Man jailed for Virgin Media box fraud

A man from Birmingham has reportedly been sentenced to five and half years in jail for his part in a major fraud against cable TV operator Virgin Media.

Last week, Mohammed Ali, 35, was convicted of selling modified cable TV set-top boxes that can receive free channels, reports The Register.

Three other men were also found guilty of the fraud, including Umar Manir, 28, who was handed an 18-month jail term and ordered to pay compensation to Virgin Media.

Shaukat Ali, 27, was given a 12-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to do 250 hours of community service, while Subhan Ali, 29, had fled overseas and was found guilty in his absence.

The men were arrested in 2008 after police raids in the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham uncovered 2,000 illegally modified set top boxes, along with substantial quantities of cash.

Their conviction was part of Virgin Media's campaign to stop set top box and modem fraud in the UK. The company is now updating its network security to stop users from being able to receive TV and internet services for free.

"Later this month, we will introduce a new encryption process in Birmingham, which is already rolling out across other parts of the UK now," said Virgin Media's head of fraud and security Malcolm Davies.

"This will protect our existing customers and make it impossible for others to take our services unless they pay for them legitimately."

In March, Wolverhampton Crown Court sentenced Jagdeep Bhogal, 30, and Manminder Singh, 30, to 26 weeks imprisonment each, suspended for two years, for trying to defraud Virgin Media.

The two men, who were found guilty of selling unlocked and unauthorised media viewing cards on eBay, were ordered to do 200 hours community service and pay £762 in costs.

20-09-2010, 17:40
New digital channels launch in France

The French broadcaster Groupe AB will launch two new channels on September 26, the company announced. A week earlier, the lifestyle channel Men’s Up TV will start broadcasting on September 21.

Groupe AB will start LuckyJack.TV, a channel dedicated to casino games, but poker in particular. Initially, the new channel will become available on the IPTV platforms from Free, Orange, Neufbox and Bougyes (Bbox) with cabler Numericable expected to sign up later this year.

The other channel from AB will be the French version of the US Golf Channel, which will be dubbed in French, but will also include original French programming.

Men’s Up TV is a lifestyle channel for men between 25 and 49 years old, which is launched by French internet company Warm Up interactive. Distribution agreements are in place with Free, Alice and SFR; contracts with
Numericable, Bouygues and Orange are expected to be finalised within a month.

20-09-2010, 17:41
Tricolor, Akado add to offers

Published: September 20, 2010 Europe/London

Russia’s leading DTH platform Tricolor TV has added two more channels to its Optimum package, bringing the total to 36.

The channels in question – Rusong TV and Bridge TV – are both music-based analogue services launched in 2005 and use MPEG-2 compression.

Separately, the Moscow-based cable operator Akado has added three more channels to its offer. Known as Country Life, Men’s Channel and Success in your hands, the first two have in placed in Akado’s ‘Hobbies’ and third in its ‘Mix’ packages.

20-09-2010, 17:44
Polish pay-TV market nears saturation

Published: September 20, 2010 Europe/London

The Polish pay-TV market is close to saturation and only likely to see modest growth in 2011.

According to Rzeczpospolita, the market already amounts to over 10 million DTH, cable and IPTV homes, with the leading players being Cyfrowy Polsat and Cyfra+, with 3.2 million and around 1.5 million subscribers respectively.

As a result of this near-saturation – the total number of TV homes in Poland is around 13.5 million – operators such as Cyfrowy Polsat are changing their strategy, making proprietary content available for the first time to competitors and instead focusing on the rollout of HD services.

Projections of subscriber figures for Cyfrowy Polsat at year’s end vary from 3.38 million to 3.6 million, while the DTH platform n could see its total rise from the current 730,000 to 800,000.

Data published by Eutelsat puts the number of digital satellite pay-TV homes in Poland at 6.1 million.

20-09-2010, 17:45
Russia starts ad sales tenders
Published: September 20, 2010 Europe/London

TV Center will be the first Russian TV channel to hold a tender for the right to sell advertising in its commercial airtime.

Kommersant reports that Video International (VI), currently the main ad sales house in the country, has said it will not participate in the tender. Instead, it will aim to retain its main customer Channel One, Russia’s leading broadcaster, along with Prof Media (TV-3 and MTV) and UTV (Muz TV and 7TV) when they hold their tenders.

The sale of commercial airtime is being radically overhauled in Russia following amendments to the Law on Advertising enacted in late 2009. They will result in VI’s market share being halved to 35% from January 1 next year.

Commercial airtime on TV Center is currently sold by Alcázar, working in conjunction with Gazprom-Media. Alcázar has said it will definitely participate in the tender if invited.

20-09-2010, 17:47
Sky Deutschland’s iPad app goes live in HD

Published: September 20, 2010 Europe/London

Sky Deutschland will launch a sports app for the iPad enabling subscribers to watch Sky Sport HD 1 and Sky Sport HD 2 via the iPad everywhere at the end of October.

The content of the app includes live sport, sport news, video clips and a datacenter with results of sporting events around the world and statistics. The app can be used for free by all Sky Sport subscribers until the end of the year and non-Sky subscribers can use the datacenter and sport news funtions.

Brian Sullivan, CEO, Sky Germany, said in a statement: “We launched the Sky Sports App in June in time for the start of the World Cup as a real innovation. Nowwe have another first, with the addition of our Sky Sports HD channels, our customers can enjoy the fantastic visual experience of Sky HD outside of their own four walls to enjoy on their iPad.”

With the new app subscribers can see all sports channels from Sky Deutschland, Sky Sport 1, Sky Sport 2, Sky Fußball Bundesliga, Sky Sport HD 1, Sky Sport HD 2 and Sky Sport Austria. No pricing has been announced when the service turns into a paid app in the new year.

20-09-2010, 17:50
ABC and Nielsen sync iPad with TV

The research firm Nielsen is teaming up with Walt Disney Co.’s ABC in the US by offering an application for Apple’s iPad for the network’s new drama My Generation, which premieres this Thursday, September 23.

After downloading the app, viewers can sync their iPad with the ongoing TV programme, which will display polls, trivia and other content and social network features. Nielsen’s involvement is their Media Sync Platform, which lets the iPad recognise the programme by receiving cues on the built-in mike.

The syncing of My Generation will be just the first of this kind of ‘multi-tasking TV’, as Nielsen expects to announce similar deals with other programmes and networks during 2011.

The app can of course also be used for marketing purposes by advertisers on the shows that get synced. Privacy is guarded, as the networks will not be receiving any data on the users.

20-09-2010, 17:51
Survey says: 1-in-3 leave cable for Netflix

How much of a threat to traditional pay-TV are Over The Top services such as Netflix? A recent study carried out on behalf of Credit Suisse found that 37% of Netflix subscribers aged 25 to 34 substitute Netflix for pay-TV.

The survey, held among 250 Netflix subscribers, also found that about 30% of users aged between 18 and 24 are using Netflix’s streaming service instead of cable or satellite, reported CNBC USA.

“Netflix’s low cost, subscription streaming service (with improving content) is our biggest worry and could become ‘good enough’ for consumers with moderate income and TV usage to use as a substitute for pay-TV,” said Credit Suisse’s Spencer Wang in a major report on the entertainment industry.

Interesting figures, but it is our take that the relative success of services such as Netflix do not signal the end of traditional pay -TV via cable or satellite. Not yet – there is a danger that viewers might find such OTT services a good alternative for their premium movie channels. But the road for newcomers to the market is still paved with lots of hurdles, such as buying proprietary boxes to connect your TV set to the internet.

However, the research can serve as a warning for traditional operators to quickly start offering new services that their consumers seem to want. One trend has already been started by premium movie channels by adding an S-VOD service to their offer. In Belgium, Telenet offers the movies of its Prime premium channel also on-demand, and the same goes for Chellomedia’s Film1 in The Netherlands.

This gives subscribers the opportunity to request the movie they want to see at the time that suits them best rather than wait for the linear channel to show the picture.

20-09-2010, 17:52
Amazon set to take control of Lovefilm
20 Sep 10 -

US online retailer Amazon is set to increase its stake in Lovefilm, the DVD retailer and online streaming service, to 100%. Amazon currently owns 42% of the company, which is run by chief executive Simon Calver, and is set to acquire the remaining shares it currently does not own.

The move values Lovefilm at around £200m (€240m). This comes after Lovefilm was considering a stock market flotation following its hire of investment bank Jeffries to assess its strategic options.

Lovefilm, which has more than 1.4 million subscribers, operates in a raft of European countries including the UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

20-09-2010, 17:53
Paris Première denies free-to-air ambition
20 Sep 10 -

M6-owned channel Paris Première has confirmed that it will not be a candidate for a free-to-air digital-terrestrial TV frequency after digital switchover in 2012.

The channel, which is currently available on pay-DTT, cable and satellite, was responding to press reports that it may consider becoming free-to-air when parent company M6 acquires an additional frequency after switchover.

20-09-2010, 17:54
Bland criticises BBC Trust structure
20 Sep 10 -

Former BBC chairman Sir Christopher Bland has said that that the structure of the BBC Trust, the UK public broadcaster’s governing body, “has never made sense”, with a lack a clarity over whether it is charged with defending the BBC’s independence or regulating the broadcaster.

Bland was chairman of the BBC board of governors, which the Trust was designed to replace, from 1996-2001. He has also criticised the government for putting pressure on the BBC to freeze its licence fee.

Bland’s comments follow last week’s announcement by Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons that he would not seek reappointment when this term in office ends next year.

20-09-2010, 17:55
MPAA website boarded by pirates

The Motion Picture Association of America’s website was temporarily brought down over the weekend by pirates enraged by an escalation in anti-piracy efforts. MPAA.org and the website of AiPlex Software, a company the MPAA hired to target websites where piracy was rampant, were out of action for much of the day.

“The MPAA is aware of the illegal attack and has taken measures to mitigate the effect of any denial-of-service attack,” said the MPAA spokesman, who confirmed that the trade body was able to get its site back online.

Responsibility for the attacks was claimed on the message-board group 4chan – a supposed hotbed for piracy activity. The offensive seems to have been prompted by a statement AiPlex made earlier in the month regarding the ramping up of its own efforts to counter torrent sites trafficking in copyright-infringing content.

20-09-2010, 17:56
Egypt closes Orbit’s Cairo studios

Saudi Arabian newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabia is quoting local sources saying that Orbit has prevaricated over paying its rent at Egypt’s Media Production City (EMPC). Orbit is now part of the Orbit Showtime Network but still produces content for its Arabic channels.

The Al-Quds newspaper says the decision to close Orbit down was made on Saturday “thus causing much surprise in media circles and prompting questions about the decision’s connection with the start of the elections campaigns in Egypt”.

The closure coincides with Egyptian speculation that pressure is being exerted on another private Egyptian satellite channel after its staff ignored complaints from senior leaders in the ruling party about programmes “which paint a bleak picture of the situations in Egypt.”

20-09-2010, 17:57
37% of younger Netflix users cutting chord

Netflix subscribers aged 25 to 34 have cancelled their pay-TV services in favor of Netflix’s streaming service, according to a survey of about 250 subscribers conducted by Credit Suisse.

Another nearly 30 per cent of 18-24 year-olds said they are opting for Netflix over cable. The company recently debuted applications that allow the video streaming service to also be accessed on the iPhone and iPad.

“Netflix’s low cost, subscription streaming service (with improving content) is our biggest worry and could become ‘good enough’ for consumers with moderate income and TV usage to use as a substitute for pay TV,” said Credit Suisse’s Spencer Wang.

21-09-2010, 10:10
The Italian version of QVC will begin on 1 October

Teleshopping channel QVC to enter another market. 01.10.2010 starts its Italian version. After Germany, the UK, QVC will operate the third largest teleshopping market in Europe. QVC also operates in the U.S. and Japan.

QVC Italia will be based in Italy, where will broadcast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 17 hours of the program will be broadcast live.

Since the beginning of the QVC broadcast will be available Italia for 17 million households via digital terrestrial (DVB-T) and satellite Hot Bird (13°E) and Atlantic Bird 1 (12.5°W).

QVC to a new mutation has been invested 64 million euros. In the production, management and own a call center application finds the work around 500 people.

Complete logistics for Italy will be in North Rhine - Westphalia (Germany).

Technical parameters:
Hot Bird 6 (13°E) freq 11.541 GHz, pol. V, SR 22000, FEC 5/6, DVB-S/QPSK
Atlantic Bird 1 (12.5°E) freq 12.545 GHz, pol. V, SR 17455, FEC 3/4, DVB-S/QPSK

21-09-2010, 10:12
Al Jazeera Balkans will start early 2011

In the Balkans, will soon operate more news and information TV - Al Jazeera Balkans (Al Jazeera Balkans). Al Jazeera television broadcast in the Balkans, the Bosnian language and tune it to local audiences in cable, IPTV and DTH platforms in Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro.

Balkan version of Al Jazeera will broadcast news and current events to viewers across the region - including in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. Channel will launch in early 2011 and will bring current, neutral and professional perspective on economic, political and social developments in the world and the region.

Al Jazeera Balkan will continue its tradition of sister channel Al Jazeera International (English) and the original Arabic channel Al Jazeera.

TV viewers will fight on with leading international channels such as Euronews, BBC World, CNN International and Sky News.

The Sarajevo daily Avaz reported that Al Jazeera has recently bought Nezavisnu televiziju 99, which may become the basis for the newly constructed channel. By the end of the TV operator wants to invest around 10 million euros.

For Al Jazeera Balkan will work a hundred people, of which 35-40 will be journalists from the former Yugoslavia, mainly from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia.

Original Arabic Al Jazeera launched more than 13 years ago. TV Today runs a wide range of thematic channels - English news channel Al Jazeera International Documentary channel sports station Al Jazeera, a children's channel, Al Jazeera.net portal in English and Arabic languages, and many others

21-09-2010, 10:13
UPC Direct on Astra: Daring! TV on a new frequency

Hard erotic channel Daring! TV broadcasts in the packet UPC Direct on Astra satellite system in Europe at 19.2 degree east on the new transponder. Currently, the station is available on two frequencies.

In addition to the original frequency 12.382 GHz is the program Daring! TV in the packet distributed for the 10.920 GHz freq. Connected to the same encryption systems CryptoWorks + Nagravision on UPC Direct, Mediaguard and Mediaguard for Canal Digitaal.

Daring! TV viewers are presented two weeks ago as the successor of station XXX Xtreme.

Astra (19.2°E) freq 10.920 GHz, pol. H, SR 22000, FEC 5/6, DVB-S/QPSK

21-09-2010, 10:14
TV Club and 8 kanal on the uncoded channel 36E

Russian operator of New Legend Media to its new multiplex at W7 satellite (36E) joins two more Russian FTA channels. In addition to the added Aug. 24 channel TV3 Russia, 20 September. added to the package of TV-Club Vosmoj channel (8 kanal). I would add that the New Media Legend gradually acquires some FTA broadcasters, who have until recently benefited from the capacity of the Ukrainian operator Poverkhnost.

The station in its sale of a wide range of customer - for example, the necessary accessories, household products, health and beauty, jewelry and sports equipment.

Vosmoj channel is new to the 36E. Until now, the station can be received in niekodowanym transmission via satellite Intelsat 15 (85.2 E), where suitable Russian TV platform Kontinent. Vosmoj channel is a channel on a general subject.The main customers are young and dynamic.

Technical parameters:

Eutelsat W7 (36E)
tp. 18 (12.054 GHz, pol. R SR: 27500, FEC: 3/4; DVB-S/QPSK)

ID: TV-club
V PID: 711
A PID: 231
PID PCR: 191
SID: 2
PMT PID: 182
Encoding: none

Encoding: none

ID: 8_kanal
V PID: 512
A PID: 4112
PID PCR: 512
SID: 3
PMT PID: 256
Encoding: none

Receive the whole multiplex is possible without the use of converters on Wheels polarizations. The strongest signal occurs in eastern Poland.

Website 8tv.ru
Website tv-club.ru

21-09-2010, 10:16
From 2 October TV Biznes only from Warsaw

From 2 October 2010, TV Biznes, the first Polish television business, will be produced in Warsaw, and not so far in Poznan. Moving editorial is the result of the consolidation of the company's Media Business (giving TV Biznes) Group of Polsat, which is from 2007 and thus the owner also wants to reduce the costs of the channel.

Poznan editorial staff numbered 37 people, to Warsaw will move about 10 employees eventually. The rest of the people lose their jobs. TV Business in the second half of July. introduced changes: reduced the number of information services, has launched a new themed magazines. So far, tends to hold them.

Previously, there were also speculations that the TV Business, together with the transfer of its headquarters to Warsaw will change its name to one that more was associated with the Group by Polsat.

TV Biznes uncoded channel is transmitted via satellite HOT BIRD 6 (13E) in the area covering the greater part of Poland and Europe.

TV Biznes Technical parameters:

HOT BIRD 6 (13E)
11.158 GHz, pol. V, SR: 27500, FEC: 5/6
SID: 13107
V PID: 353
A PID: 354
encoding: none

21-09-2010, 10:17
13E: Vietnamese VTV4 on a new frequency

Viet Nam Television VTV-4 intended audience abroad, and many other international channels broadcast from 19 September 2010 of a new transponder. To receive these stations have to do a new search with new parameters.

TV VTV-4 (Vietnam), Arirang TV (Korea), Daring! TV (hardcore), MKTV Sat (Macedonia) like last left RRsat multiplex Israeli societyas to the frequency 12.207 GHz, pol. H. Transponder left off.

The above stations and BVN, CNL, Didar Global, Fashion TV, KurdSat, Thai TV Global Network, Red Hot Sex TV 1/2/3/4, Baby TV, 3ABN International, KICC TV, Rojhelat, Al Alamia, ERT World can be found at new parameters:
Hot Bird 6 (13°E) freq 10.815 GHz, pol. H, SR 27500, FEC 5/6, DVB-S/QPSK

21-09-2010, 10:18
Mobistar Belgium launches TV offer

Published: September 21, 2010 Europe/London

Belgian mobile operator Mobistar will launch its new Mobistar TV ‘quintuple-play’ package on October 8. Costing EUR 55 a month, the so-called Starpack package offers mobile and fixed telephony, broadband access and IPTV, DVB-T and DVB-S television.

Mobistar said it developed a complete television solution combining multiple available technologies. Their hybrid television receiver gives access to satellite (via DVB-S), digital terrestrial (DVB-T) and IPTV television signals. Satellite offers HD quality (Full HD 1080) and 3D television experience and brings over 500 television and radio channels. The internet gives customers access to interactive services (EPG), content on demand (VOD) and “thanks to Mobistar TV’s intelligent platform”, customers can watch, record and manage their favourite programmes both on their television or mobile devices.

Mobistar is part of the France Telecom group and will use their Livebox to connect to the internet and to offer TV and radio to the television set. The Livebox 2.0. has wifi and is DNLA enabled and contains a 320 GB hard disk. Activation costs is EUR 50.

21-09-2010, 10:19
Mockridge calls for end to Italian TV restrictions

Published: September 21, 2010 Europe/London

The war of words between Sky Italia and Mediaset has erupted again after Sky Italia CEO Tom Mockridge called for an early removal of the 2003 legislation preventing Sky from entering the terrestrial television market.

In a letter to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Mockridge said most of the new frequencies made available by the country’s analogue switch-off should go to new entrants, possibly including foreign companies, which have both financial resources and ideas. He said the allocation of frequencies should be determined by independence, objectivity and transparency.

“In the field of pay TV, Mediaset operates without any limitation, while Sky is subject to a long list of regulatory restrictions (if Sky get better results is because consumers are free to choose our product in preference to that of Mediaset Premium),” he said.

The restrictions imposed on the Italian market had reduced freedom of choice and resulted in less jobs in the sector than the European norm.

Mockridge called for an end to legislation that he believed was designed to hinder Sky’s progress in the market, such as restrictions in the sale of advertising. He also said the link between Mediaset, RAI and the audience research body Auditel should be broken so that new entrants could rely on the available data.

Mediaset Chairman Fedele Confalonieri responded robustly, saying: “We won’t take lessons in competition from a member of the world’s most dominant media groups.”

In June, the European Commission has accepted plans for Sky Italia to bid for digital terrestrial capacity, but on the pre-condition that it is restricted to free-to-air broadcasts until 2015.

21-09-2010, 10:21
VimpelCom expands IPTV service

Published: September 21, 2010 Europe/London

Russia’s VimpelCom has expanded its IPTV service Beeline TV to three more cities.

According to the company, viewers in Voronezh, Tula and Krasnodar can now receive its ‘First’ package, which consists of 80 of the most popular Russian and international channels, six in HD, for R195 (€4.8) a month.

Beeline TV employs Microsoft Mediaroom technology and is already present Moscow and St Petersburg, where it launched in May and December 2009 respectively. At present, Beeline TV has over 60,000 subscribers.

21-09-2010, 10:22
Czech digitisation on track

Published: September 21, 2010 Europe/London

The Czech Republic appears to be well on track in its transition to digital broadcasting, which should be completed on November 11 next year.

HN reports that nationally, Czech Television (CT), TV Nova and Prima TV can already be received in digital form by 89.4% of the population, or over 30 percentage points more than this time last year. While 39% of people were then able to receive CT, TV Nova and Prima TV in analogue, the figure is now down to 14.5%.

CT’s DTT multiplex currently covers 99% of the population, or five percentage points more than at the start of the year. The country’s second and third multiplexes meanwhile cover 89.5% and 84.4% respectively, while the fourth, operated by Telefónica O2, still only reaches around 22%.

21-09-2010, 10:23
Russian IPTV player posts strong growth

Published: September 21, 2010 Europe/London

Russia’s Dalsvyaz, which is based in the far east of the country, ended the second quarter 112,840 IPTV subscribers, or 50,600 more than a year earlier.

This impacted strongly on its income, to which interactive digital TV services contributed R181.3 million (€4.5 million) in the first half of the year, as opposed to R106.2 million in the same period in 2009.

Dalsvyaz also saw growth in the take-up of its broadband internet service, the number of subscribers at the end of this June amounting to 481,576, or 108,383 more than a year earlier.

Dalsvyaz looks on track to reach 125,000 IPTV subscribers well before the end of this year. It is already, along with Comstar-UTS, one of the leading providers of IPTV services in Russia.

21-09-2010, 10:24
Sky Deutschland launches ESPN America HD

Published: September 21, 2010 Europe/London

Sky Deutschland will launch ESPN America HD on October 27, bringing the total number of HD channels on the German satellite DTH platform to 11. ESPN America in SD is already part of Sky Deutschland’s Sky Welt Extra bouquet.

ESPN America will broadcast live coverage of Major League Baseball (MLB World Series), the American Football League NFL and the NHL ice hockey league.

Sky Deutschland now offers four HD chnanels with sports, with Sky Sport HD 1, Sky Sport HD 2 and Eurosport HD. The platform also comprises Discovery HD, History HD, National Geographic HD, Sky Cinema HD, Sky Cinema Hits HD, Sky Action HD and Disney Cinemagic HD.

ESPN America HD launched in the UK last June and has since also become available in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

21-09-2010, 10:25
KidsCo launches in Austria with Liwest

Published: September 21, 2010 Europe/London

The international children’s channel KidsCo has announced its launch in Austria on Liwest, the country’s second largest cable television operator. It will be available to Austrian viewers in German from September 2010.

KidsCo will broadcast its range of “family friendly programming” including Pecola, Sabrina: The animated Series, Dino Squad, Fat Dog Mendoza and Super Mario Bros. Additionally, the channel will air KidsCo original programming Boo & Me and Jass Time! across Liwest’s extended basic package.

Paul Robinson, MD of KidsCo, welcomed the news in a statement: “With the worst of the recession over KidsCo’s focus is coming back to Western Europe. We are really excited about launching in Austria and exposing KidsCo programming to more subscribers. We are pleased with our existing expansion in Western Europe and will continue to keep this area as a focus through 2011. Our aim is to deliver programming that both educates and entertains kids and we are delighted that Liwest shares this vision.”

21-09-2010, 10:26
More Iranians turn toward opposition satellite channel

Support for the main opposition satellite channel is growing in Iran, with the Iranian people making all kinds of efforts to install satellite dishes in their homes and avoid being caught by the regime’s suppressive forces. The growing trend of viewership for Simay-e Azadi Iran National TV, the largest opposition satellite channel in Iran, has forced the regime to react by complaining about people’s colourful efforts to conceal their satellite dishes.

The state-run news agency Mehr published a large number of pictures showing homes with satellite dishes, and said, “While there are some who are not intimidated and publicly display their satellite dishes, some people conceal it by throwing a piece of fabric on it, which is nonetheless still obvious.” The regime has made large-scale suppressive efforts to confiscate satellite dishes through the years, but has failed to succeed.

21-09-2010, 17:18
Free Sky Sports Open Day - Sunday 26th September

Last updated: 21st September 2010


We are opening up all 4 Sky Sports channels on Sunday the 26th of September so that you can experience Sky Sports for yourself.
To enjoy the day all you need to do is tune in!

There's a wide range of sport on across the day including live coverage of two Barclays Premier League games, Spanish Football,
the Tour Championship and European Golf on Sky Sports 1 & 2, SPL,
Rugby League and NFL on Sky Sports 3 & 4.

... more details in official web site

thanks for watching my post

28-09-2010, 08:27
Neovia to handle FilmFlex payments

Neovia Financial has announced its Payment Network has been chosen by FilmFlex to process the online payments on its recently launched broadband VOD service.

FilmFlex, owned by Sony and Disney, is using the Netbanx gateway to process payments on its new packaged streaming service.

“Alternative payment options are exactly the right tool for this market” said Dan Starr, Chief Marketing Officer for Neovia . “Following our contract wins with SeeSaw and Perform, this win further demonstrates that the Neovia Payment Network is the best choice for secure, flexible online payment processing in the micro-content and streaming media market.”

Neovia could be seen as a possible provider of financial services to YouView, where it will compete against MGt’s recently launched PayWizard.

Project Canvas has already indicated that it will not mandate a single provider for operators wanting to run pay-TV services over the hybrid platform.

28-09-2010, 08:27
Cable Europe says sector stimulating fibre investment

Cable Europe has said the European Commission’s broadband strategy recognises the need to spur telcos into making fibre investments has been stimulated by the market presence of the cable sector.

“There is a growing *– and encouraging – awareness about the importance of a mix of technologies driving connectivity,” said Caroline Van Weede, managing director of the trade body. “We’re calling on Europe to ensure that public funding mechanisms tightly focus on areas where private investments are not commercially viable, such as sparsely populated areas. If the Commission is to work with bodies such as the EIB it is even more important that stakeholders providing ultra fast broadband are considered equal – and consulted. Placing public funds in areas where services exist does not make sense.”

A package of measures to encourage the delivery and take up if ultra-fast broadband was announced yesterday (Monday), by Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda.

In addition to its communication on how to encourage public and private investment in broadband, the Commission has put forward a proposal that provides regulated access to Next Generation Access networks that it believes provides a balance between investment and competition. A Radio Spectrum Policy Programme has also been proposed to ensure the availability of spectrum for wireless broadband.

28-09-2010, 08:28
Croatian cableco introduces Balkan package

Croatia’s leading cable operator B.net has introduced a new ‘Balkan package’ offering channels from Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia.

The package contains TV Svet Plus, Top Music, OTV Valentino, TV BN Sat, Hayat TV Sat, Vizion Plus, Alsat TV, RTV Atlas, MKTV Sat and Pop TV and is available to B.net’s digital subscribers.

B.net was formed by the merger of DCM and Adriatic Kabel and claims to reach 250,000 households across Croatia, including such large population centres as Osijek, Rijeka, Split and the capital, Zagreb.

28-09-2010, 08:30
Sky secures Masters rights from 2011

Sky has agreed a deal with the Augusta National Golf Club to join the BBC as an official UK broadcast partner for the Masters from next year.

Under the agreement, Sky Sports will show coverage of all four days of the 2011 tournament at the Augusta National in standard and high definition.

During the week of April 4 to 10, Sky will air live coverage of the Par 3 Contest on the Wednesday and the four tournament rounds from Thursday to Sunday.

The BBC has covered the last 24 Masters from Augusta in a relationship stretching back decades, but its latest three-year rights contract expired in April.

It had been feared that the corporation could lose the tournament rights to Sky, but the satcaster has simply joined as an additional broadcast partner.

Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, said: "Since our first telecast of the Masters in 1956, we have carefully maintained a tradition of high-quality programming within an appropriate broadcast window. This addition will be consistent with those efforts and exciting for the millions of golf fans who enjoy viewing the Masters each April.

"We consider ourselves fortunate to have two committed television partners who are able to reach both new and established audiences throughout the United Kingdom. This agreement was successful in both preserving a long-term partnership and adding a new dimension to our coverage in the UK."

Sky will also air the Masters on its new Sky 3D channel, which launches on October 1 with coverage of the Ryder Cup tournament.

"3D coverage of the Masters will give a unique view of the Masters and really capture the contours of the stunning Augusta National course," said Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis.

"We are also delighted that coverage from the host broadcasters at Augusta National will start one hour earlier than ever before.

"Sky Sports has enjoyed a great partnership with golf for nearly two decades. We follow a hundred different tournaments each year, from five different continents, and are excited that The Masters is now at the heart of this calendar."

The Masters coverage will also be available on Sky Player and via Sky Mobile TV to Sky Sports subscribers.

28-09-2010, 08:31
Updated: Twitter fixes security flaw

The main Twitter website was hacked this afternoon via a security flaw.

Users who moved their cursor over blacked-out text automatically Tweeted or Retweeted the same message. Some accounts automatically posted a message in oversized text, making their page and those of their followers unreadable.

In a blog post, Graham Cluely of security firm Sophos reported that the flaw allowed messages and pop-up windows from third-parties to open in users' browsers. These pages potentially contain spam or malicious code.

Cluely said: "The Twitter website is being widely exploited by users who have stumbled across a flaw which allows messages to pop up and third-party websites to open in your browser just by moving your mouse over a link.

"Hopefully Twitter will shut down this loophole as soon as possible - disallowing users to post the onMouseOver JavaScript code, and protecting users whose browsing may be at risk."

Cluely noted that the Twitter page belonging to Sarah Brown, the wife of former Prime Minister Gordon, had attempted to direct her one million followers to a "hardcore porn site based in Japan".

In a post on its Safety page, Twitter confirmed that it has now fixed the security flaw.

"We've identified and are patching a XSS attack; as always, please message @safety if you have info regarding such an exploit," the social networking website said.

Del Harvey, the leader of Twitter's Trust and Safety team, added: "The XSS attack should now be fully patched and no longer exploitable. Thanks, those reporting it."

28-09-2010, 08:32
BBC defends Pope UK visit coverage

The BBC has defended its coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the UK last week after receiving hundreds of complaints.

According to PA, figures released by the corporation indicate that 169 viewers complained that the coverage was too favourable to the Catholic leader, while 197 felt that it was too critical.

An additional 384 complainants felt that the BBC gave too much airtime to the Pope's visit, but 122 people contacted the corporation to praise it for the coverage.

A BBC spokeswoman said that the complaints "reflect some of the public's opposing views" on the Pope's historic visit to the UK.

"In the context of the millions of viewers who enjoyed our live events coverage of the five major ceremonies, the live news coverage on the BBC News Channel, the news bulletins, and the various documentaries, the complaints reflect some of the public's opposing views about the visit," she said.

"The Pope's visit was of historic significance for millions of Catholics and to the wider population of the UK and it has provoked a range of public reactions.

"BBC News coverage of any subject is always approached in an impartial and accurate way, reflecting the different sides of any debate."

28-09-2010, 08:33
BBC renews Masters coverage deal

The BBC has renewed its deal with the Augusta National Golf Club to broadcast live coverage of the Masters tournament on terrestrial television.

From April 7 to 10 next year, the corporation will air all action from the final two rounds of the event live on TV, backed up by coverage on Radio 5 Live and the BBC Sport website.

"The BBC is very proud we have broadcast the Masters every year since 1986 and we are delighted that this new deal enables us to continue this relationship," said BBC Sport director Barbara Slater.

"It means terrestrial audiences can continue to enjoy live coverage of the concluding rounds of this hugely prestigious tournament on BBC TV, alongside our comprehensive coverage on radio and online."

In April, Phil Mickelson won the famed Green Jacket for the third time after finishing three shots clear of Lee Westwood.

The BBC has covered the last 24 Masters events from Augusta in a relationship stretching back decades, but its latest three-year rights contract expired after the 2010 tournament.

It had been feared that the corporation could lose the tournament rights to Sky, but the satcaster has instead joined as an additional broadcast partner.

Sky will carry live coverage of all four rounds of the tournament, as well as Wednesday's Par 3 contest in SD, HD and 3D on its pay-TV platform.

"We consider ourselves fortunate to have two committed television partners who are able to reach both new and established audiences throughout the United Kingdom," said Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament.

"This agreement was successful in both preserving a long-term partnership and adding a new dimension to our coverage in the UK."

28-09-2010, 08:35
Sky sorry for Anytime technical issues

Sky has apologised for the major technical problems over the weekend that caused the Anytime video on-demand service to crash thousands of Sky+ HD boxes.

On Saturday afternoon, members on Digital ***'s Sky+ HD forum started reporting instances of their receivers freezing or going to stand-by when trying to access the Anytime menu.

Members reported the problems on a wide variety of different model set top boxes and the issues happened repeatedly when trying to access Anytime over the weekend and into yesterday.

In a statement, Sky said that a "technical issue" had caused some HD boxes to freeze or go into stand-by while accessing the Anytime service.

After investigating the problem, the satellite broadcaster believes that it has now "identified the root cause" of the failure, meaning users no longer need to manually disable Anytime to continue using their Sky+ HD box.

Despite being confident of resolving all the technical issues today, Sky has taken the precaution of not introducing any new content to the on-demand service until everything is fixed.

"While our final checks are continuing, we're taking the precaution of not adding new programmes to Anytime for Sky+ HD customers," said the firm.

"This is a purely temporary measure and we hope to be able to reinstate the full service as soon as possible. We're sorry for any inconvenience caused in the meantime."

Sky said that the technical problems only affected Sky+ HD boxes rather than standard definition receivers.

Anyone with a HD box that has frozen is advised to press and hold the standby button on the Sky remote control or Sky box until the green power light turns red.

After waiting 15 seconds, users need to press the Sky button and the power light should turn from red to amber to eventually green as the box restarts.

28-09-2010, 08:36
ITV 'embarrassed' by polar bear gaffe

ITV has acknowledged an "embarrassing" on-air error after a reporter claimed that a polar bear had washed up on a Cornish beach, but the animal later turned out to be a cow.

Naomi Lloyd, presenter of ITV's West Country breakfast bulletin, told viewers that the large, white beast had been brought in on the tide close to the seaside town of Bude.

"A walker in Cornwall has caught an extraordinary sight on camera. A polar bear has washed up on a beach near Bude," said Lloyd.

"The bear comes from the Arctic Circle and an investigation is under way as to how it could have ended up there."

However, the animal was subsequently identified as a cow that had been bleached white by the sea water, reports The Daily Telegraph.

ITV dropped the story from later bulletins and acknowledged the "embarrassing" mistake, but insisted that it was an easy one to make.

"The animal caused quite a stir in Bude. Several people has seen the animal from a cliff top and thought it was a polar bear," a spokesman said.

"Its size and colour and its lying position on the beach did make it look like a polar bear and we had several calls.

"But on closer inspection we discovered it was a cow. The tide was very strong and it did bring several dead animals in along that stretch of coast."

The animal was first spotted by dog walkers early yesterday morning, who immediately contacted the television stations.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) service, which also received calls about the incident, said: "Mostly we deal with stranded seals, whales, dolphins and porpoises. We don't get calls about polar bears in Cornwall all that often. Or cows, for that matter."

28-09-2010, 08:36
Mediaset Italia to launch in the US

Italian commercial broadcaster Mediaset is hoping to launch its new international TV channel, Mediaset Italia, to viewers in the US by the end of November or the beginning of December.

Mediaset Italia is already available in Canada through TLN but has ambitious plans for the North American market, where it wants to target the 15 million Italian Americans. According to Patricio Teubal, the head of sales at Mediaset, the channel will be distributed by International Media Distribution, a unit of Comcast, on the basis of a “revenue sharing” deal. The cost of the subscription will be less than $10 a month. Distribution wise, Mediaset Italia is targetting cable TV systems, DTH platforms (like DirecTV) and IPTV operators (such as Verizon and AT&T).

Mediaset Italia, which presents itself as “#1 Italian Language TV Channel”, airs a selection of programmes broadcast by Mediaset’s three terrestrial TV channels in Italy (Rete 4, Canale 5, Italia 1). The program schedule mainly features variety, with other segments devoted to news, sports and fiction. There will be no imported content and subtitles could be added at a later time.

Mediaset Italia could also be launched in other countries as there are some 60 million Italians around the world.

28-09-2010, 08:37
Zoran wins Irdeto certification for pay-TV STBs

Zoran has announced that Irdeto, the global expert in securing and delivering premium content and digital assets, has certified its SupraXD 170 and SupraXD 180 processors for the secure delivery of digital content to pay-TV STBs that use Irdeto’s Conditional Access System (CAS). Zoran is also working with Irdeto to certify additional Zoran processors later this year.

28-09-2010, 08:38
James Bond’s new Indian accent?

The Times of India summed up its take on the news that an Indian investor would be taking a major stake in the struggling MGM studio. “Mera naam hai Baand, James Baand”, is how Mr Bond’s introduction might work in Hindi. Whether the global entertainment community will be shaken or stirred by these reports is yet to be measured.

But the offer is real enough, and sees Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), the bankrupt US movie studio, may soon be “gone with the wind” to India. Lucknow-based Sahara India Parivar has made a 2 billion dollar bid to buy the debt of the studio with liabilities to the tune of $4 billion. Both sides have confirmed the development to the media, but the deal it is still a work in progress and details are sketchy.

“Discussions are on, but it is too early to comment on the issue,” MGM told the Financial Times. In India, Sahara also confirmed the interest but did not offer more detail. The great studio, which was founded in 1924, and produced such classics as the Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind, is a whimpering shadow of its former self, and is neck deep in debt. It recently received another extension on an agreement to put off interest payments on about 4 billion dollars in debt until October 29.

The studio is part-owned by the Broccoli family, producers of the James Bond movie series. If the deal goes through, word is that Barbara Broccoli and her stepbrother Michael Wilson, who took over from the late Albert ‘Cubby‘ Broccoli, would receive an undisclosed equity stake in the new company.

It could also change the face and the accent of arguably the celluloid world’s most recognizable fictional character whose heroics hasn’t been able to rescue the studio that creates him for screen. In fact, the situation is so dire that early this year, EON Productions, the James Bond production company controlled by Broccoli and Wilson, said they would suspend development on the next 007 movie, 23rd in the series, which was previously scheduled for release in late 2011. “Due to the continued uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development on Bond 23 indefinitely,” EON said then in a statement. If Sahara India Parivaar ends up sheltering MGM, James Bond or James Baand if you wish, may find a new voice and identity.

28-09-2010, 08:39
Digi TV: National Geographic with the Czech dubbing

Documentary channel National Geographic Channel distributed platform Digi TV began broadcasting with the Czech dubbing. Czech pay TV subscription this will find the audio track with English language ID.

National Geographic Channel broadcasts with Czech dubbing premier programs in prime time, and the performances, other programs are in English audio. Czech dubbing gradually replace the current location in the form of subtitles.

Czech NGC is one of autumn's new operator. Recently, the operator of the platform's expanded menu of Czech demand programs Prima Cool / R1, Z1 and TV Barrandov. Unofficially, it is possible to track some of the Czech Republic Slovak station and vice versa.

Technical parameters:

* Intelsat 10-02 (1 ° W), freq 12.607 GHz, pol. H, SR 27500, FEC 3 / 4, DVB-S/QPSK, CA Nagra Media Access (Nagravision 3 / 4)

28-09-2010, 08:40
Intel: Master Key HDCP is broken

Master Key HDCP prolomenIntel confirmed that the code is located on the Internet in recent days, is the main key HDCP standard developed by Intel and used to reproduce the equipment authorized copyrighted content.

"It can be used to generate valid keys, which are compatible with the protocol High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection," said company spokesman Tom Waldrop Intel.

HDCP is used in set top boxes, DVD players, Blu-ray and other facilities for encoding audio or video content. Recently, on one website found code that should be called master key HDCP. Waldrop said he did not know who wrote the post and how he managed to get the code.

The master key can produce their own equipment which reproduces copyrighted content without paying license fees. Waldrop said it is not so easy, because the technology must be introduced into the system (CIPA). In practice it is very difficult and expensive.

Intel will try to thwart any attempts of unauthorized production facilities.

Image for article: Intel: Master Key HDCP prolomenIntel confirmed that the code is located on the Internet in recent days, is the main key HDCP standard developed by Intel and used to reproduce the equipment authorized copyrighted content.

"It can be used to generate valid keys, which are compatible with the protocol High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection," said company spokesman Tom Waldrop Intel.

HDCP is used in set top boxes, DVD players, Blu-ray and other facilities for encoding audio or video content. Recently, on one website found code that should be called master key HDCP. Waldrop said he did not know who wrote the post and how he managed to get the code.

The master key can produce their own equipment which reproduces copyrighted content without paying license fees. Waldrop said it is not so easy, because the technology must be introduced into the system (CIPA). In practice it is very difficult and expensive.

Intel will try to thwart any attempts of unauthorized production facilities.

28-09-2010, 08:41
MAN TV - Russian Channel for Men

30 September 2010 will launch a new channel for Russian men under the name of MAN TV. It arises on the basis of Gameland TV channel. Potential acceptances are men aged 25-45 years, residents of large cities, who value their personal space, orient the modern cinema, listen to good music, actively pursuing their free time, they drive abroad, often visit the restaurants and cafes.

TV MAN focuses on the fundamental interests of men, such as beautiful women and fast cars. It is owned by the Russian company Gameland, which was founded in 1992 and also offers Gameland TV channel about video games.

Website: h//p://www.man-tv.ru

28-09-2010, 08:43
More IPTV for Latvia

The Latvian incumbent telco Lattelecom may shortly face competition in the provision of IPTV services.
DB reports that Kurzemes datocentres, which is based in the city of Ventpils, has allocated LVL300,000 (€356,579) on a research project that could result in the launch of an IPTV service, as part of a triple play offer, in June 2011.

Lattelecom, which is backed by TeliaSonera, currently operates both IPTV and DTT services. The former, which is known as Lattelecom Interactive TV, had 45,000 subscribers as of Q1 this year.

28-09-2010, 08:44
UPC eyes Czech acquisition

UPC Czech plans to buy Sloane Park Property Trust (SPPT), a company that offers internet connectivity on a wholesale basis and has its own extensive fibre optic network.
According to E15, the proposed acquisition of SPPT, which is understood to be worth around CZK450 million (€15.4 million), has been referred to the Office for the Protection of Competition (UOHS).

Although SPPT supplies services for mostly smaller providers, it also lists UPC Czech amongst its clients.

SPPT posted a profit of CZK17.9 million in 2008, down from CZK48.5 million a year earlier. It is capitalised at CZK177 million.

28-09-2010, 08:45
GlobeCast expands to Poland

GlobeCast has extended its fibre network from Paris (Telehouse 2) to the Pkin technical centre in Warsaw.
As a result, the distribution of foreign channels in HD by Polish cable operators will now become much easier.

The new link will also give the many Polish channels looking to grow their audience greater access to GlobeCast teleports and satellite platforms around the world, including Hot Bird. In practice, it will allow such channels to reach Polish communities overseas, particularly in North America and Canada.

Warsaw is now GlobeCast’s 33rd point of presence on a backbone network that spans over 92,000km of DTM fibre linking Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas.

28-09-2010, 08:46
Euronews set to move to new HQ

French based international news channel euronews has signed several contracts confirming a move to one of the most prominent buildings in Lyon’s new Confluence district in 2013, the broadcaster has announced.
Euronews will co-own its future headquarters along with the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (development bank) and Voies Navigables de France (riverways administration), with whom it has just signed the contracts.

The three co-owners have also agreed a building contract with Lyon-based developer Cardinal. The building is designed by architects Jakob and MacFarlane who also designed the Cité de la Mode et du Design fashion institute on the docks of Paris, and the Restaurant Georges at the Pompidou Centre. They regularly exhibit their projects in museums (London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, San Francisco’s SFMOMA, the Moscow Museum of Architecture, Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum etc.). The design is a modern and spacious building with a strong identity, adapted to suit the international news channel that is euronews.

Lyon Confluence is an urban renewal project aimed at Greater Lyon’s central business district. A project of this scale is rare in Europe and it represents a major undertaking for the Lyon area. When complete, the 150 hectares will double the city’s central business district. In this new location, euronews will join other renowned international companies, such as GL Events and media entities Le Progrès and Espace Group.

Construction work will begin in September 2011 and the moving and relocation process should begin in September 2013.

Euronews said in a statement: “This new building, one of the Confluence district’s most eye-catching, will raise the channel’s profile as well as its status at local, national and international levels. This move into the city centre also represents a genuine venture for euronews and will provide the additional space needed to keep up with the expansion of the channel in recent years. By moving from a 4500 sq. m to a 10,000 sq. m space, not only will euronews’ working environment improve, so too will its capacity for development within this new space, set in a luxurious location at the confluence of the rivers Rhone and Saone.”

28-09-2010, 08:47
Goldmedia to undertake web TV survey

The Berlin strategy consultant Goldmedia is to undertake a web TV survey, commissioned by BLM, the Bavarian Regulatory Authority for Commercial Broadcasting. Known as Web TV Monitor 2010, it will provide a market overview of internet TV in Germany for the first time.
The study is based on comprehensive primary data research obtained via a survey of all internet TV providers in Germany. The survey for Web TV Monitor 2010 has just been launched, and the research results will be presented at the 2010 Munich Media Fair (Medientage München) on October 15, 2010.

High growth in the number of broadband connections has significantly increased the use of internet TV. Currently, about two thirds (65%) of all internet users in Germany access video files at least occasionally, compared to just 28% in 2006.

Internet TV is a growing market, with the number of providers and variety in services strongly increasing. In addition to numerous online-only services, the world of internet TV is primarily made up of classic media outlets’ video and online portals, diverse video-sharing platforms, multi-channel portals and media centers, as well as non-commercial information services and corporate TV.

At present, all German internet TV providers are invited to participate in the survey, which runs until the end of September 2010.

28-09-2010, 08:48
Eutelsat Kabelkiosk expands Turkish bouquet

Eutelsat Kabelkiosk, the service provider for small to medium sized cable networks in Germany, has expanded its Turkish bouquet, which now offers a total of 18 channels. Of these, the movie channel Yesilcam TV is for the first time available in the country.
The new offer also includes four channels from state broadcaster TRT, as well as a host of private broadcasters including news, documentaries as well as general entertainment channels.

Martina Rutenbeck, CEO of Eutelsat Communications, said in a stateent, “We are excited about the launch of the new offer. This underscores our expertise in the international licensing business and, in combination with the wireless kiosk platform services to our partners the best opportunities, living in Germany, international communities with television from the home supply. “

General entertainment: TRT Türk, Euro D, ATV avrupa, Show Turk, Euro Star, Kanal 7, Samanyolu TV Avrupa and E! Entertainment; Documentaries: TRT Belgesel; Music: Kral TV and TRT Müzik; Movies: Yesilcam TV [For the first time available in Germany]; News: Samanyolu Haber, Habertürk, TRT Haber, Ülke TV, NTV Avrupa; Culture: Mehtap

28-09-2010, 08:49
Ofcom explores local TV options

Ofcom has released a report exploring the technical options for the start of regular local TV services across the UK. Despite a number of failed attempts to establish genuinely local TV broadcasts in Britain, the government has made it clear that the establishment of local TV is a policy priority, and has established an inquiry led by media banker Nicholas Shott.

The Ofcom report gives a comparison of the costs and benefits of four different platforms: terrestrial, cable, satellite and broadband. It does not consider how spectrum or existing capacity could be secured for local television, which it says is a matter for government.
Ofcom has produced a list of 25 urban areas including the four UK nations capital cities and 21 of the largest urban areas where local TV might be feasible. It has also carried out a comparison of the possible delivery methods.

Satellite can provide a single channel number for convenience, but there are potential costs in drawing up new regional boundaries, and additional expense in broadcasting to large areas of the UK where the service would not be relevant. Cable offers the ability to provide localised services, but a subscription would be required, and service would be restricted to the 50% of the UK passed by cable. It is also where local TV projects such as Wire TV and Associated Newspapers’ Channel One have failed in the past.

Broadband offers a low cost entry that can be scaled to demand, but the uptake of broadband and the general inability to actually view such services on the TV is seen as problematic, at least for the time being. It is significant that United for Local Television (ULTV), the industry association of local TV operators in the UK, has asked Ofcom to fully investigate Project Canvas/YouView.

Terrestrial delivery may provide the best option through new local geographic interleaved multiplexes would be able to run from existing sites. The approach is not completely flexible as coverage would be limited in some areas, but the absolute and opportunity costs of the approach are low. It might also be possible for the channels to have carriage in an existing public service multiplex or in a new multiplex released after analogue switch off.

28-09-2010, 08:50
13E: FTA Tests Movie Channel 1

On transponder 157 on the Belgian operator BSS satellite Hot Bird 6 (13 ° E) appeared likely encoded promo upcoming new movie channel a Movie Channel. Trailer are broadcast under the FTA.

According to the promo spot should stop bringing American films of different film genres - from action movies, sci-fi, horror and comedies to dramas.

Test mode is not the best quality. At 720x576 resolution video bit rate is only 1.3 Mbit / s MPEG-2, which causes the fast-moving scenes pixelizaci image.

Currently there are no details about the station and its operators.

Technical parameters:

* Hot Bird 6 (13 ° E) freq 11.642 GHz, pol. H SR 27500, FEC 3 / 4, DVB-S/QPSK, FTA

28-09-2010, 08:51
Edgeware secures Slovenian IPTV deal

The delivery systems company Edgeware has been selected by Telekom Slovenije to further develop its IPTV platform.
Under the terms of an agreement between the two parties, Edgeware will provide its specialised video servers to Planet 9, the telco’s multimedia and services integration subsidiary.

Telekom Slovenije is Slovenia’s leading provider of IPTV services, boasting over 120,000 subscribers, while Planet 9 provides multimedia, content and systems expertise to deliver platforms such as SIOL iO, which is the first convergence video service linking TV, internet and mobile to enable the viewing of broadcast content.

28-09-2010, 08:52
STB shipments fall for first time in nine years

The number of set-top boxes shipped in the pay-TV industry reached an all time high in 2009 with a total of 127 million units shipped. Yet despite this 3% growth in volumes, Screen Digest’s TV Technology Market Monitor says the value of the sector fell to €9.2 billion with a further fall expected in 2010.

The analyst says the drop in value will be accompanied by a decline in shipment volumes to120 million, the first fall since 2001 amid declining IPTV shipments and a plateau in the demand for set-top boxes from satellite and cable operators. Significantly, More units were shipped to the top 4 western pay TV operators than to the whole of the Chinese pay TV market.

Screen Digest anticipates growth will be restored in 2011 as cable operators pick up on the digital transition, a process previously halted by economic uncertainty.

Motorola is placed as the number supplier of set-top boxes, followed by Pace and Technicolor, though the difference between the manufacturers is said to be wafer thin. While Motorola was the market leader in both volume and revenue terms, Echostar had the highest average selling price for a STB.

The four biggest vendors took 44% of the market.

28-09-2010, 08:53
TOTVS presented its Digital TV interactive platform

The technology and software company TOTVS presented its StickerCenter, a digital TV platform for STBs with Astro TV middleware, a Ginga implementation developed by the company. The proposal offers a series of so-called Stickers widgets with entertainment and related-companies' electronic commerce options.

Predetermined Stickers are transmitted and updated through associated broadcasting companies' TV channels. Moreover, new applications - if the user has an Internet connection device - can be acquired in the so-called StickerShop store. In virtue of this project, the company closed agreements in Brazil with Banco do Brasil, Extra supermarket, the free-to-air TV channel Band, UOL portal, Climatempo site (with weather forecast) and Walmart chain.

"At present, we are in our promotion and implementation process, but in the future, other companies will be added", Carlos Maiztegui, TOTVS Cone South General Director told NexTV Latam. Applications that will participate in the proposal can be developed both in NCL-Lua and Java languages. Maiztegui pointed out that how the business model would work in the rest of Latin America still remained unknown. In Brazil, Astro TV middleware is fitted in LG and Sony TV sets, though such devices have not been fitted with StickerCenter yet.

"With Banco do Brasil's application, for example, the same as an Internet user can be done", the executive commented. "In order to mount this over a digital TV platform, it is necessary to move with security, something that Java technology incorporates, since it enables encrypted elements". But, NCL LUA "has been thought for content applications rather than business ones", he pointed out.

The whole technology platform developed by TOTVS is inscribed within ByYou brand. In June, TOTVS announced the acquisition of the 45% of TQTVD capital stock, thus becoming the owner of the 100% of such company. TQTVD resulted from the association between TOTVS and the software development company Quality.

28-09-2010, 08:54
Iusacell will offer Pay-TV services in Mexico

The Mexican mobile telephony operator Iusacell will offer Pay-Tv services through its fiber network GPON, by means of which Internet and fixed telephony services have recently been launched too. According to executive directors, before year end, the company will be ready to offer triple play. The operator is trying to gain position as an integrated operator so as to face competition posed by other operators like Televisa and Telmex.

Iusacell will utilize "the second biggest fiber network in the country" to render Pay-TV services, Alejandro Haddad, Iusacell Group's National Director of Fixed Products, stated. This GPON network is "owned by the company, from the moment it comes out of the switcher until it reaches the client's site", that is the reason why "it never passes through Telmex infraestructure", the executive director added in declarations released by the portal El Informador.

Iusacell's strategy results from the market trend aimed at adding more services in one operator. In this sense, Televisa (in alliance with Nextel) will enter the mobile telephony market and will complete its fixed telephony, Internet and Pay-TV offer (by means of its cable operations Cablevisión, Cablemás, TVI and the DTH Sky). On the other hand, Telmex might enter the Pay-TV market is its license title is modified.

Iusacell is part of Salinas Group, as TV Azteca. Iusacell's arrival in the Pay-TV market will enable the national Mexican chain to indirectly open a new space in that market, as Televisa has already done.

28-09-2010, 08:55
Nfusion Litigation: Ravin and Roseline Ramkissoon Imprisoned for Contempt of Civil Search Orders

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has sentenced Ravin Ramkissoon d.b.a. The Digital Store, commonly known as Nfusion Canada, and his wife Roseline Ramkisson to jail sentences of four months and two months, respectively. They were found in contempt of civil seizure (Anton Piller) Orders obtained by EchoStar, NagraStar and Bell TV in December, 2009. The Ramkisoons sold and distributed nFusion and other brands of free-to-air receivers through their company stores and web sites.

The contempt findings arose out of the Ramkissoons’ refusal to grant access to parts of their business premises when the Orders were served. They also deliberately prevented the Independent Supervising Solicitor (ISS) appointed by the Court from observing Ravin Ramkissoon in order to ensure that the evidence covered by the Orders was preserved. Additionally the Court found that Ravin Ramkissoon willfully disobeyed the Orders by removing hard drives from computers in an attempt to prevent data from being copied by the Plaintiffs.

In sentencing the Ramkissoons to jail terms, Justice Cumming stated that the Ramkissoons’ contempt was “deliberate, blatant and willful” and that having been served with civil search orders on a prior occasion, they were knowledgeable as to what was required of them in preserving relevant evidence. In awarding the Plaintiffs their legal costs in the amount of $265,887.12, Justice Cumming noted that while the costs were considerable, they were the direct result of the contemptuous actions of the Ramkissoons. These sentences represent a significant victory for the Plaintiffs in their continuing efforts to prevent satellite pay-TV piracy in Canada and the United States.

28-09-2010, 08:56
Bell Canada launches Fibe TV

Bell Canada has officially launched its new IPTV service 'Fibe TV', offering premium content (including HD titles), interactive features and whole home PVR capabilities.

The new service is initially being made available in select neighbourhoods in Toronto and Montréal, delivered over the telco's fibre-based network and powered by the Microsoft Mediaroom middleware platform. Fibe TV is expected to be available to 5mn Canadian households by the end of 2015. The service is described as being complementary to Bell Canada's exiting satellite TV service, which currently has nearly 2mn customers.

At launch, the service offers over 100 high-definition channels, as well as more than 70 international channels and over 20 thematic packages, with every standard-definition channel also coming with the HD version at no extra charge. The VOD library has more than 1,000 titles in both standard- and high-definition quality, as well as subscription VOD services for premium content from channels such as TMN, MPIX and HBO.

The Whole Home PVR feature connects all receivers in the home and allows users to record up to 100 hours of HD content or 250 hours of SD content, as well as record up to four programmes simultaneously. The Remote PVR feature will also be made available shortly, allowing customers to manage their recordings from any computer with Internet access, or directly from select smartphones.

Bell Canada has stated that it aims to become the country's largest TV provider by 2015, and is investing billions of dollars in its fibre, satellite and wireless broadband networks in order to deliver the most extensive TV services possible. The telco announced very recently that it plans to acquire Canadian media company CTV, in order to ensure that customers have access to quality sports, news and entertainment content across television, mobile and PC screens.

28-09-2010, 08:57
TV piracy breakthrough in Lebanon

Television (and other software) piracy is rampant in Beirut and the surrounding region, with thousands of ‘informal’ cables strung between the cities and towns illegally delivering the very best in pay-TV for just a few dollars a month. Barely a penny goes to the official rights’ holders. That may be changing.

A deal was struck in Beirut on Tuesday between one local cable operator, Cable Vision, and Orbit Showtime Network, itself a long-struggling pay-TV broadcaster beset by piracy of its signals.

The deal was signed during a news conference held at Lebanon’s Information Ministry, in the presence of Information Minister Tarek Mitri. The minister said the agreement was significant because it would help regulate the distribution of cable television channels and prevent piracy. However, he declined to criticise the cable operators, saying “What they do is not necessarily illegal because there is no law to hold them accountable,” he said, asking distributors to present suggestions on how to regulate the sector.

This is somewhat naive given that Orbit/Showtime, ART and enforcers like the Motion Picture Alliance have long lobbied the Lebanese to get tougher with local pirates. However, the Minister admitted that the sector needed attention: “We need to regulate this sector and to issue laws … This is a new step toward regulation and legislation,” he added. He added that the Information Ministry was preparing a new and global information law, “different from the scattered laws we have today,” that would include the issue discussed during the conference. “I want everyone concerned to be involved in the process so we can write a just law,” Mitri said.
Cable Vision Director General Mohammad Fakhoury said the newly signed agreement would allow subscribers to benefit from a broader range of channels for reasonable prices and with HD technology. He added that no additional costs would be imposed on subscribers and that Cable Vision would communicate with local cable distributers. “Signing this agreement is a fundamental condition for distributing OSN channels in Lebanon,” Fakhoury said.

The new agreement will allow Cable Television to broadcast OSN channels while preserving the television company’s copyrights.

28-09-2010, 08:58
TiVo vs EchoStar: ‘End is in sight’

Tom Rogers, CEO at TiVo, says its long-running legal battles with EchoStar and its Dish Network sister company will likely end in February or March 2011. The DVR manufacturer has been locked in a tight legal embrace with EchoStar since 2004 when TiVo accused satellite TV provider EchoStar’s Dish Network system of violating TiVo’s patent for its “Time Warp” software that allows users to record one TV programme while watching another.

EchoStar has already paid TiVo a total of $104 million in damages, but EchoStar has also had a few minor victories itself along the way. Back in May a federal appeals court granted Dish a somewhat surprising opportunity for a better outcome granting the Denver-based broadcaster an ‘en banc’ hearing, which means the dispute goes to a full panel of judges. That’s planned to kick off on Nov 9.

Rogers told delegates at a Goldman Sachs media conference in New York that “We look at the Dish litigation as something we’re going to win.” It would be nice, given that fines and damages in TiVo’s favour already top $400 million. Many analysts have predicted that EchoStar/Dish might end up settling with TiVo and paying a royalty to the DVR supplier.

28-09-2010, 08:59
Over 25% of UK homes have completed switchover
More than a quarter of UK homes are in areas that have completed the switchover from analogue to digital TV. Figures show that around 6.92 million – or 26 per cent of homes – have now completed the switchover process.

Earlier this year Wales became the UK’s first digital TV nation when the analogue signal was switched off for the final time. Parts of England – including the West Country and Granada TV areas – have also completed the switchover and the process is currently underway in Scotland.

28-09-2010, 08:59
Sat broadband on Jet Blue

US discount airline JetBlue announced a deal with ViaSat to put fast broadband links on its 160 aircraft. The potentially ground-breaking deal would fit the airline’s Airbus and Embraer planes with Ka-band links which have the ability to transmit high-speed data and handle broadband entertainment.

The installation would be the first of its kind in the fast-growing inflight entertainment industry.

28-09-2010, 09:00
Sezmi raises $17.3m funding

Sezmi has raised $17.3 million more for its US national hybrid broadcast-broadband television distribution network, according to a regulatory filing.

The company, which was founded in 2005 and previously had collected more than $75 million from investors, has so far rolled out to 36 metropolitan markets via outlets that include Amazon and BestBuy, following a test run in Los Angeles last year.

28-09-2010, 09:01
Telus asks for ban on exclusive mobile TV distribution

Telus, Canada’s third-largest wireless phone company, is asking the country’s broadcast regulator to ensure rivals can’t distribute television content exclusively to their mobile subscribers.

Telus is using public hearings that began this week into Shaw’s $1.9 billion purchase of Canwest Global Communications’s television assets to argue against content exclusivity.

Telus, which competes with Shaw and BCE Inc., said it wants the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to impose “unequivocal and enforceable rules” to stop Shaw from engaging in “abuse of market power,” according to a filing with the regulator

28-09-2010, 09:02
PS3, old and new 3D-ready

Sony has confirmed that the PlayStation 3 is now officially compatible with 3D TVs. A new patch (available immediately) means that PS3 owners can watch 3D Blu-rays.

Michael Ephraim, managing director of Sony Computer Entertainment, said that; “The 3D entertainment revolution has been highly talked about in 2010. With PlayStation 3 consoles now offering 3D Blu-ray movie play back as well as stereoscopic 3D game capability, and even more 3D entertainment content in the pipeline…we can provide (users) with the most comprehensive 3D viewing experience possible”. The upgrade now means that the most financially successful movie of all time, Avatar, can be viewed properly at home using Sony’s console. Sony also confirmed that a slate of 3D video games will be launched in the near future.

The new firmware also features Facebook integration that enables developers to build much more Facebook interaction into their games.

28-09-2010, 09:03
Hadopi download warnings ‘ready to go’

Warning emails will be sent out by mid-October to people in France who have made illegal downloads, says anti-internet piracy body Hadopi. The new authority was supposed to be ready to act in April, then June, then September, but it has been held up by legal complications.

Now the body says that it has sent its first batch of requests to ISPs, asking them to reveal identities of Internet users found to have illegally downloaded files such as music or films. Their IP addresses are held by Hadopi, but the ISPs have the names and addresses these correspond to. By law they can be fined E1,500 per IP address if they refuse to hand over details in eight days.

Reports say all major ISPs; Free, Orange, Numéricable and SFR, have received requests concerning several hundred IP addresses. The IP addresses of people who have allegedly used illegal file sharing sites have been identified by surveillance firms working for copyright holders and passed to Hadopi.

28-09-2010, 09:04
Saudi paper slams sex-enhancer TV ad

Saudi TV is subject to sensitive local views

A leading Saudi newspaper has slammed the kingdom’s state-run television channel for airing a controversial advertisement for a sex-enhancing pill. Kabar Arabic language claims the ad has sparked "resentment and dismay among a large segment of viewers,” adding that it has received several complaints from angry viewers.

"With a meaningful smile on her face, the wife tells her husband after he took the pill: 'the children have completed their homework, don’t forget yours.' How can an official media organ, which is trusted by Saudi families, show this," the paper writes. Saudi Arabia is one of the Middle East’s most conservative nations, with its broadcasts coming under intense scrutiny for anything deemed offensive.

28-09-2010, 09:05
Zodiak to rebrand after RDF takeover

Zodiak Enterta…RDF MediaBroadcasting Zodiak Entertainment has confirmed plans to rebrand under a new group banner after its takeover of production company RDF Media.

In June, Paris-based Zodiak acquired Wife Swap producer RDF to form one of the largest TV production firms in the world.

The new enlarged company will now relaunch as Zodiak Media Group (ZMG), with RDF founder David Frank as its new chief executive.

The new company brings together a network of award-winning production and rights companies across Europe, the US, South America and Asia.

Frank plans to discontinue certain group brands - including RDF Media Group, Marathon Group, Magnolia Group and Zodiak Television Group - in favour of new Zodiak-designated regional and operational divisions

However, Marathon, Magnolia, RDF Television and others will live on as local and international production companies. More details on the firm's new divisional structure will be released shortly.

"The re-branding of the group and the move to a new divisional structure based on the Zodiak name will enable us to operate more effectively as a group and leverage greater value from the scale of our combined businesses and our geographical spread," said Frank.

"A strong Zodiak brand will assist our local companies. We want to think globally and deliver locally."

In further moves, RDF USA has merged with Zodiak Entertainment US to become Zodiak USA, while the former rights divisions of RDF and Zodiak have also merged to become Zodiak Rights.

Grant Mansfield will become chief executive of Zodiak USA, while Matthew Frank will head up Zodiak Rights.

28-09-2010, 09:06
Integra TV presented cable operators interactive applications
The Uruguyan technology and and software development company, Integra TV, presented its cable interactive application system in Argentina, Panama and Puerto Rico with the purpose of expanding its proposal among Latin American operators. In each region, the idea is to close agreements to offer local companies' different services and products by such means. At present, this service is present in three cable operations in Uruguay: TCC, Montecable and Nuevo Siglo. In November, it will be presented in Chile.

28-09-2010, 09:07
BBC to share US Masters golf with Sky

The BBC has renewed its contract to air coverage of the US Masters golf tournament, but will be forced to share the rights with pay-TV provider BSkyB for the first time.

Under the terms of the deal, the BSkyB will have exclusive rights to air the first two days of the tournament, with coverage of the final two days being shared with the UK public broadcaster.

The BBC had feared losing all rights to the competition to Sky.

28-09-2010, 09:08
TF1’s Odyssée to become Stylia

TF1-owned French documentary channel Odyssée is being rebranded as Stylia and dedicated to lifestyle from October 1.

TF1 plans to rebrand the channel as a female-oriented service focusing on luxury lifestyle, fashion and design. However, managing director Didier Sapaut said the channel would also appeal to men. Odyssée recorded revenues of €4.8m and a profit of €14,000 in 2009.

Separately, TF1, faced with the threat of non-renewal of its exclusive contract with pay-TV operator CanalSat for the carriage of information channel LCI, has begun talks with other operators including Orange, according to local press. The channel could seek carriage with both Orange and the Canal Plus bouquet.

28-09-2010, 09:09
France Telecom takes stake in Morocco’s Méditel

France Telecom has signed a memorandum of understanding with current owners Fipar-Holding (CDG group) and FinanceCom to take a 40% stake in second-ranked Moroccan mobile and fixed-line telco Méditel.

France Telecom will consolidate the stake into its account via a global integration from fiscal year 2015. Méditel has licences for fixed, mobile and 3G telephony in Morocco.

France Telecom said the move was the first step in its policy of expanding outside Europe and doubling its revenues in Africa and the Middle East over the next five years.

28-09-2010, 09:10
Discovery to launch Ukrainian feed

Discovery Communications is to launch a feed of its main channel specifically for Ukraine, according to reports.

The factual channel operator will launch the feed in the country in November, airing Discovery series including Deadliest Catch, Man v Wild, Stormchasers and Swamp Loggers. Discovery ahs inked a deal with local advertising sales agent Video International Ukraine to sell advertising on the channel.

28-09-2010, 09:10
Huawei demos 700Mbps DSL

Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei has announced that it has showcased a 700Mbps DSL prototype in Hong Kong.

The Huawei demonstration uses SuperMIMO (multiple input, multiple output) technology to deliver much higher speeds than have hitherto been possible over DSL. SuperMIMO technology uses four twisted pairs to achieve a downstream rate of 700Mbps at a distance of 400 meters. The technology reduces cross-talk between multiple twisted pairs and, according to Huawei, increases DSL bandwidth by 75%, from an average of 100 Mbps per twisted pair to approximately 175 Mbps. Using SuperMIMO, Huawei’s 700 Mbps DSL prototype could be applied to high-speed FTTB/FTTC access and private line applications, such as base station access, the company said.

28-09-2010, 09:11
Satlink delivers first underwater live HD

Israel-based teleport operator Satlink has delivered what it describes as the first-ever live HD broadcast of underwater filming from the Red Sea to the Photokina 2010 expo in Cologne, Germany.

Live feeds from 20 meters under the sea are delivered via a mobile production and transmission facility on the beach to the Eutelsat satellite position at 8° East. Video is delivered in the ASI format using MPEG-4 compression.

28-09-2010, 09:12
Unitymedia upgrades Gelnhausen

Liberty Global-owned German cable operator Unitymedia has upgraded its network in Gelnhausen, near Frankfurt-am-Main in Hesse, as part of its ongoing network-wide investment.

Gelnhausen residents will now be able to receive EuroDOCSIS 3.0-based broadband delivering speeds of up to 128Mbps, as part of Liberty Global’s deployment of its Fiber Power services across its footprint.

28-09-2010, 09:13
'Strong field' expected for BBC One job

BBC Vision director Jana Bennett has predicted that there will be an "extremely strong field" of candidates for the vacant BBC One controller job, but suggested that BBC Three's Danny Cohen is not in the running.

Last week, Channel 4 poached current BBC One controller Jay Hunt to become its first chief creative officer from January next year.

In a speech to staff yesterday, Bennett paid tribute to Hunt and thanked her for "devoted leadership of a highly creative team" at the BBC's flagship channel, reports The Guardian.

The BBC started advertising for Hunt's replacement this week and Bennett is confident that there will be plenty of interest in the role.

"I've no doubt that we'll have an extremely strong field of candidates for what is arguably the most important channel commissioning job in the UK," she said.

Hot favourite for the role is BBC Three controller Danny Cohen, after he masterminded a resurgence at the digital channel since taking over in May 2007, including viewer numbers being up by 56% among the target 16- to 34-year-old audience.

However, Bennett - who will handle the BBC One controller job until Hunt's replacement can be found - seemed to suggest that Cohen is staying where he is for the moment.

She said: "During the coming year I want to work with Danny to strengthen and deepen the BBC Three news brand and ensure it gets full credit for its serious documentary and current affairs output."

Earlier in the month, Cohen also claimed that he is "definitely staying" at BBC Three to further build on the channel's success.

28-09-2010, 09:14
BBC cancels 'To Buy Or Not To Buy'

The BBC has announced plans to cancel To Buy Or Not To Buy after seven years on the air.

The property show allowed potential buyers to "test-drive" homes to help them decide whether or not to purchase them.

According to The Guardian, the BBC's director of vision Jana Bennett announced plans to end the series yesterday.

"We shan't be recommissioning To Buy Or Not To Buy," she said. "BBC Birmingham, which makes the show, has a very strong track record in daytime and will be working on three pilot shows for the future."

Meanwhile, the BBC's controller of daytime Liam Keelan said: "BBC Daytime has seen a significant shift in terms of programming over the last two years and we've made successful inroads into original drama, current and consumer affairs, with titles including Land Girls, Rip Off Britain and Jimmy McGovern's award-winning series Moving On.

"This means there is less of a need for traditional formats such as property. The series has been running since 2003 and although we're proud of it, there is always a time when a run naturally comes to its end."

Around 100 episodes of To Buy Or Not To Buy are still to be aired or made and the show is expected to continue into next year before coming to an end.

28-09-2010, 09:15
Orbit Showtime to air on Lebanese cable

Lebanese cable operator Cable Vision has struck a deal with Middle Eastern pay TV operator Orbit Showtime Network that will see a raft of its channels airing in the country.

The move will see Orbit Showtime Network, which was formed by a merger between Orbit Communications and Showtime Arabia, provide channels including movie networks ShowMovies and Super Movies and entertainment channels including ShowSeries and America Plus, in Lebanon. 

The deal was ratified by the Lebanese Information Ministry and minister Tarek Mitri said this deal was the key to regulating the distribution of cable TV channels and prevent piracy. "We need to regulate this sector and issue laws. This is a new step forward toward regulation and legislation," he said.

28-09-2010, 09:16
Nat Geo Kids lures Back

Nat Geo Kids have hired former Handmade execs Debbie Back and Jennifer Liang. This follows the collapse of the joint venture between the two companies.

Last October, Nat Geo and Handmade, the film company originally set up by Beatle George Harrison, set up a joint venture kids production company. However, following Handmade's acquisition by Almorah Services, the US$26 million joint venture collapsed.

Back, who was previously in charge of international sales at MTV Networks International, will become head of worldwide sales for National Geographic Kids Entertainment, while Liang will become senior director, sales and strategy.

This comes as Nat Geo Kids received an order for a third season of its live action kids series Are We There Yet? The 39x7mins show, which is produced by Sinking Ship Entertainment, has been renewed by Canadian broadcasters Treehouse and CBC.

28-09-2010, 09:17
Men and Movies FTA in October on 28.5 E

On satellite Eurobird 1 (28.5°E) in the UK free satellite platform FreeS start a new movie channel Men and Movies. It will be another movie channel, which will focus on men.

Men & Movies will be operated by Dolphin Broadcast Services Ltd., which already owns and operates movie channels and Movies4Men Movies4Men second These schemes are available for more than 10 million UK households Sky UK. Movies4Men started in 2002. Then there is the sister channel with clock delay.

Movies4Men and Movies4Men2 are also part of the platform Freese, which started in May 2008. Service is now used by more than 1 million households.

Movies4Men Movies4Men2 and deliver a wide range of films that will appeal especially men - war, westerns, thrillers, action, sci-fi, horror and erotic. Movies4Men monitored each month more than 2.1 million men and is the fifth most watched digital movie channel.

Starting next station Men & Movies operator announced the social network Twitter. Start a new program is scheduled for 04.10.2010. Details of the new project will be covered later.

28-09-2010, 09:18
Mobistar Belgium launches TV offer

Belgian mobile operator Mobistar will launch its new Mobistar TV ‘quintuple-play’ package on October 8. Costing EUR 55 a month, the so-called Starpack package offers mobile and fixed telephony, broadband access and IPTV, DVB-T and DVB-S television.

Mobistar said it developed a complete television solution combining multiple available technologies. Their hybrid television receiver gives access to satellite (via DVB-S), digital terrestrial (DVB-T) and IPTV television signals. Satellite offers HD quality (Full HD 1080) and 3D television experience and brings over 500 television and radio channels. The internet gives customers access to interactive services (EPG), content on demand (VOD) and “thanks to Mobistar TV’s intelligent platform”, customers can watch, record and manage their favourite programmes both on their television or mobile devices.

Mobistar is part of the France Telecom group and will use their Livebox to connect to the internet and to offer TV and radio to the television set. The Livebox 2.0. has wifi and is DNLA enabled and contains a 320 GB hard disk. Activation costs is EUR 50.

28-09-2010, 09:20
New channels in Digital + on

Neox Nova, Fiction Factory and The Seven join from tomorrow, Wednesday September 22 Digital supply. The four channels will be available to all customers of the platform, integrated into the band dedicated to the Digital Entertainment and occupy the dials ranging from 26 to 29. In addition, Digital has expanded its range of information channels with the addition of Russia Today, to be released in the version in Spanish and in English, on the dials 147 and 148 respectively. Today Russia's proposal increases plurality of information provided so far by Integrated Digital 12 channels among them CNN, CNN Int, 24Hours, CNBC, BBC World, Fox News, Euronews and Al Jazeera.

Thus, Digital further strengthens its offer programming and reorganizes the dial, which offers over 150 channels and programming services.

New channels

With the addition of NEOX, NOVA, Fiction Factory and The Seven to Digital, viewers of the platform may continue all the programming of these channels from anywhere in Spain to enjoy the advantages provided by digital television, as the image quality and sound and the ability to see on screen all the details of the program that is broadcast.


TV Antena 3 Neox launched in 2005 and Nova in TDT. Neox was created to meet the demand of younger audiences through alternative programming, capable of providing premium in open spaces, for its innovation, would be outside the scope of traditional chains. For its part, Nova was designed to reach another major targets: the female audience.

Fiction Factory and The Seven

Produced by Telecinco, Fiction Factory and The Seven are available on DTT. Fiction Factory is a dedicated channel series and hit movies, foreign and domestic, yesterday and today. For its part, the proposed seven self-produced content geared towards young audiences.


Russia Today is the first Russian information channel broadcasting in the five continents to over 100 countries. The channel offers everything from the latest news to expert analysis of the most important. The structure of the channel programming focuses on three main areas: news, business and sports. The news, with follow-up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with live coverage, interviews and exclusive interviews. As for the programs include "Spotlight" (the daily talk show), "Cross talk" (debate), "Technology update" (science and technology), "Keiser report (financial market analysis)" Wayfarer "( travel) or "Close-up Russia (Russian territory guide).

28-09-2010, 09:21
Caspionet on 39E

Kazakh Khabar agency, which gives information Caspionet television, began using the services of the Ukrainian Ukrkosmos satellite operator. The result of the agreement between the parties, television Caspionet appeared in the free package Ukrkosmos a satellite Hellas Sat 2 (39E).

Caspionet is the first national channel of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The station was launched 25 October 2002 year. Broadcasts in three languages: Kazakh, Russian and English. Caspionet shows the relationship of the major political, economic, social and sporting events (with country and the world). In addition, train brings cultural life in Kazakhstan - theaters, concerts and exhibitions. Offer Program at the weekend also includes feature films and documentaries, cartoons for children, theatrical performances and concerts.

Message CaspioNet appeared at the control board (colored belts) as identified under the name Poverkhnost test.

Technical parameters:

Hellas Sat 2 (39E)
tp. 8 (11.512 GHz, pol. H, SR: 30000, FEC: 7/8; DVB-S/QPSK)

ID: CaspioNet
V PID: 4913
A PID: 4914
PCR PID: 4913
SID: 1933
PMT PID: 4912
Encoding: none

Distribution of satellite for viewers in Europe is carried out on Hot Bird 8 (13E) on the frequency 12.149 GHz, pol. V, SR: 27500, FEC: 3/4, DVB-S/QPSK.

Website caspionet.kz

28-09-2010, 09:22
9E: FOX Sports temporarily FTA

American sports fans may be a satellite EUROBIRD 9A (9E) to receive a temporary basis in the form of FTAs, the popular sports channel Fox Sports Middle East in English. Casual Fox Sports Middle East is available to subscribers OSN platforms (Orbit Showtime Network), and Digitürk. Technical quality of FOX Sports Middle East is very good. The program is broadcast bitrate of 4.2 Mbps at 704x576 resolution.

Although the program is broadcast in SD, then to his receipt is required for HD receiver - multiplex station broadcasts in DVB-S2. Fox Sports Middle East has, inter alia, golf, Major League Soccer - MLS, NASCAR, and many others.

Technical parameters:

11.881 GHz, pol. V, SR: 27500, FEC: 2/3, DVB-S2/8PSK
SID: 3510
V PID: 2010
A PID: 3010
encoding: none

28-09-2010, 09:23
Russian cable deal confusion

Confusion surrounds the sale of the Moscow-based cable operator Akado.
RBK reports that the company has been bought in its entirety by Rostelecom and not the Svyazinvest subsidiary Center Telecom, as had previously been planned, quoting Akado’s parent company Renova. However, a final deal has apparently not yet been concluded.

Up until now, Akado has listed Viktor Vekselberg (51%) and Yuri Pripachkin (49%) as its shareholders.

Akado is one of the leading cable operators in Russia, with 670,000 broadband and 446,000 pay-TV and 985,000 analogue TV subscribers as of Q1 this year.

28-09-2010, 09:23
More channels for Czech O2 TV

The Czech Republic’s leading IPTV service O2 TV will raise the number of channels it offers in its basic package to 20 on October 15.
According to Digizone, the new channels in the package will be the Christian service Noah, Prague station Metropol TV, BBC, CNN and Slovakia’s Markiza, Joj, Joj Plus and STV1.

O2 TV is operated by the incumbent telco Telefónica O2 and has recently run into difficulties, its subscriber total of 138,000 in the first quarter being little changed on that 12 months earlier.

Earlier this month, Telefónica O2 received licences from the Council for Radio and TV Broadcasting (RRTV) to distribute seven new channels, two of which (Metropol TV and Joj Plus) have now been added to O2 TV’s basic package.

Aside from O2 TV, Telefónica O2 operates one of the Czech Republic’s four DTT multiplexes.

28-09-2010, 09:24
Latvia enhances DTT service

The Latvian incumbent telco Lattelecom has significantly improved its DTT service through the addition of 10 more channels.
As a result, viewers are now offered 43, along with the free national channels LTV1, LTV7, LNT and TV3, as well as a regional channel.

The new channels are all international and include one – Sony Entertainment Television – that is being provided on an exclusive basis.

Lattelecom’s DTT offer is divided into free, basic and thematic packages. Significantly, viewers living within a 40km radius of the Zakusalas tower in Riga can also receive Discovery HD Showcase

28-09-2010, 09:25
KidsCo gains more CEE coverage

KidsCo has secured an exclusive agreement with the Russian distribution agency Pleiades Multimedia.
Under it, the latter will market the channel’s content for cable TV distribution, VOD and linear TV on cable and IPTV in Russia, Moldova, Armenia and Georgia.

The move follows the channel’s recent expansion in the CEE region, with agreements with (amongst others) On.net (Macedonia), TPSA (Poland) and Botu Communication, Dynamic Distribution and GMB Computers (Romania).

28-09-2010, 09:26
The pirates are losing, don’t hand them weapons

All in all it has been a good year for content protection. This time last year, the Pirate Party (an off shoot of Pirate Bay) was the ‘talk of the town’ with its’ high-profile stand for piracy and its’ success in Euro elections. This year the party fell well short of the threshold for the European Parliament and the site is still off air.

Meanwhile, ‘three strikes’ type legislation is well down the track in most European territories and elsewhere and, in the US, Congress has just started to seek powers to take over the domain names of any sites that promote infringement.

Furthermore, although a significant minority still see content theft as a minor and/or victimless crime, most surveys show public attitudes shifting in favour of fair pricing for content and approval of appropriate reward for creators.

The warning note here is fair pricing, and that is linked to another issue, what might be termed ‘fair use’ availability. Pricing will probably take care of itself; legitimate Over The Top (OTT) services, often developed by content owners who want to cut out ‘the middleman’ distributors, will help move the price market in favour of consumers. But if the most popular content rights are not made available widely, (because owners over exploit scarcity to drive up prices), or are slow to make the content, once paid for, available on many devices (see our feature), then they will hand excuses back to the pirates.

It is also important the content community does not over use new powers (like three strikes) – if it begins to take a sledge hammer to crack small nuts, then sentiment will turn against them quickly. It is difficult to successfully identify individual culprits in the IP world and the infringement of the civil rights of the many, while organised criminals continue to flourish, will see politicians quickly dilute their support for the content industry.

The way to market success is competitively priced content made available widely (geographically and technologically) and protected to a level that makes theft expensive enough to be uneconomic.

28-09-2010, 09:27
RealD - bringing passive Full HD 3D in 2011

RealD has thrown something of a 3D curveball this week, announcing that it is preparing to release Full HD passive 3D into the TV market sometime in 2011.

Currently active shutter glasses are the only technology to offer 1080p 3D visuals but RealD reckons it has found away to offer Full HD but through cheap passive glasses – the ones which make you look like an Elvis Costello knock-off.

According to RealD president Josh Greer, who was speaking at the third Annual 3D Entertainment Summit in California, revealed all about the new technology and said that RealD's licensees (Sony, JVC, Samsung, Toshiba and Panasonic) will have access to the technology next year.

There's no word on which manufacturers will take RealD up on its offer, though.

Passive technology

The Full HD passive technology uses ZScreen technology which is currently found in digital cinemas. The screens preserve the light, keeping dissipation to an absolute minimum.

It also offers circular polarisation, which blacks each eye out much like what happens in active shutter glasses – this is done by light on the screen swirling at speeds counter clockwise and then anti-clockwise.

RealD believes it has ported this technology into the humble TV screen.

There's no word on cost, but the TVs are likely to be more expensive than their active-shutter counterparts – although the glasses will be able to be sold for around £1.

This is very much an emerging technology but as it is already in use in cinema projectors which use RealD technology, expect to see a demo of the technology at CES 2011 and along with it the talk of yet another format war in the home.

28-09-2010, 09:29
STRONG flexes STB muscle with Thomson brand

STRONG Digital TV has licensed the Thomson brand to distribute digital free-to-air (FTA) set top boxes (STB) in Europe, and selected countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Established over 140 years ago in Japan, STRONG Group is a global supplier of TV centric products and provides a large product range of set-top boxes to the retail and operator markets.

Its distribution structure now reaches over 50 countries.

The THOMSON brand is being licensed from Technicolor S.A. (formerly Thomson S.A.) which will retains ownership of the THOMSON brand. The new devices will see use across the digital TV spectrum, encompassing satellite, terrestrial, cable and IPTV.

Commented Khaled Debs, CEO of STRONG: “I am pleased that we will be able to further strengthen our position in the market, by leveraging the power of the Thomson brand to provide consumers the best technology and reliable products.”

28-09-2010, 09:30
German news channel n-tv

German news channel n-tv is to produce a four-part current affairs programme with Turkish broadcaster TRT 5, marking the first time a commercial German TV channel creates a joint TV show with Turkey’s national state TV network.

We are very much looking forward to the joint project, said n-tv managing director Hans Demmel.

With this collaboration we want to further expand the international teamwork and contribute to Turkish integration through covering Turkish issues, said TRT 5 general coordinator Sadik Ikinci.
The project is even supported by the Turkish ministry of education and culture in Ankara.

In particular regarding the current discussions about the integration of citizens of Turkish origin in Germany it is important to build a bridge between cultures with projects like this.”

28-09-2010, 09:31
UK government has assured the TV industry

Even just as it is about to embark on perhaps the fiercest economic cuts seen in more than a generation, the UK government has assured the TV industry that establishing local TV in the UK is still a policy priority.

Following discussions between the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport and his team, UK TVregulator Ofcom has published a report comparing the benefits and costs of using the different platforms: terrestrial, satellite, cable and via broadband. It sets out for each platform their own advantages and disadvantages for carrying local television services.
In order to put its money where its mouth is, the UK government has set up an enquiry to examine what conditions might be necessary to make local TV commercially viable.

Following discussions between the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport and his team, UK TVregulator Ofcom has published a report comparing the benefits and costs of using the different platforms: terrestrial, satellite, cable and via broadband. It sets out for each platform their own advantages and disadvantages for carrying local television services.

The study considered how local television could be delivered to the most populous urban areas in the UK as it was considered likely that economic drivers for local television will be most favourable in those areas. The starting point was an indicative list of twenty five urban areas including the four UK national capital cities and twenty one of the largest urban areas.

THe report did not consider how spectrum or existing capacity could be secured for local television; that was considered a matter for government to decide how, if at all, to intervene to secure spectrum resources or multiplex capacity for local television or to rely upon commercial mechanisms.
One finding was that the choice of approach depends upon objectives for the local service including considerations such as localness, delivery, coverage and economics. Furthermore each platform presented opportunities and also constraints.

Satellite was seen as providing reliable coverage across the UK to nearly all households and can offer a single channel number for local services but has associated constraints and costs if a finer localness than the existing broadcaster regions was desired. Also, any local service on satellite would be broadcast across the UK but would only potentially be relevant to a few areas. To provide many local services in this way is likely to involve a high cost.

Even though broadband was seen to offer a low-cost entry to delivery of video with costs that scale according to demand, the report was optimistic for the mainstream use of delivery of video content via broadband connections. It noted the growing adoption of IP-enabled television sets (IPTVs) and other initiatives that incorporate broadband delivery of content.

28-09-2010, 09:31
Spanish TV producer laSexta’s Mediapro

Spanish TV producer laSexta’s Mediapro has denied applying anti-competitive practices whereby its football rights are linked to the hiring of its production and signal transport services staff.

A statement issued by Mediapro refuted the claims and said:
we offer to our clients the access to a final product such as the live transmissions of the football matches and other sports such as the Formula 1 or the World Cup

A producer was recently accused by the Spanish Competition National Commission—the governmental association watching for the good practices in the telecommunications and audiovisual fields— of forcing those who buy its soccer rights to also contract its production and signal transport services.

The company’s management have given assurances that their practices are within Spanish law and that the same principle applies to producers and broadcasters in the rest of European and US.
We are very surprised the Competition National Commission opened a file against us after a claiming by one of the first multinationals in the telecommunications field which has assured we limit them in transmitting signals in the Spanish market

28-09-2010, 09:32
Indian direct-to-home (DTH) operators Sun Direct and Reliance Big TV

Indian direct-to-home (DTH) operators Sun Direct and Reliance Big TV are sharing capacity on Measat 3 in a move which could help overcome bandwidth constraints and cut their broadcasting costs.

Tony D’Silva, Sun Direct’s CEO told The Hindu’s daily publication: We have been sharing transponders for the past one and a half months and almost 60 channels, including the free to air [ones] are jointly beamed.

No further details of the unlikely partnership have been divulged, although Sanjay Behl, CEO of Reliance Big TV confirmed there was an arrangement with its competitor which was currently being evaluated.

Following reported power problems with six of the seven transponders it rented on Insat-4B, Sun Direct has only recently moved over to Measat 3, located at its orbital slot of 91.5 degrees east.

Both companies launched their MPEG 4 based broadcast platforms in mid-2008; Sun Direct now claims a subscriber base of 5.8 million, while Reliance Big TV has about 2.5 customers.

As of July 2010, there were a total of 23.5 million DTH subscribers in India, spread across the seven DTH operators – up from13 million on the previous year.

India is widely tipped to outstrip the US in terms of DTH subscriber figures come the year end.

30-09-2010, 09:44
The recent furore regarding a total ban on advertising on French public service broadcasting (PSB

The recent furore regarding a total ban on advertising on French public service broadcasting (PSB) has inspired France Télévisions President Rémy Pflimlin to set up an ethical code of practice.

French Minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterrand confirmed on radio station RTL that the proposed total ad ban on French public service broadcasting (PSB) would indeed be delayed by that amount of time.

Pflimlin’s objective is to establish better control of prime-time TV sponsoring slots and even reserve the right to cancel some sponsorship.TV sponsoring must not give the visual impression of being too important,” he argued on French radio.

Post 8:00 pm sponsorship reaps around €25 million in revenue to France Télévisions, an income that is disputed by private TV concerns groups such as TF1 and M6 who have asked the French regulator that TV sponsorship be suppressed from PSB screens in exchange for the two-year delay in the plan to ban .

30-09-2010, 09:45
FreeviewDigital TVDigital UK

FreeviewDigital TVDigital UK has confirmed that thousands of viewers in the Anglia region will make the switch to digital television next summer.

In July 2011, the digital switchover will commence at the Tacolneston and Sudbury transmitter groups covering Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex.

The five analogue TV channels will be permanently switched off to be replaced by the Freeview digital terrestrial television (DTT) service, which will reach virtually every household across the east of the region.

After the switch, tens of thousands of homes previously in "digital blackspots" from King's Lynn to Lowestoft to Clacton-on-Sea will be able to receive Freeview for the first time.

The Anglia region will also receive Freeview HD in 2011 as part of the current rollout timetable for the high definition DTT service.

Digital UK and the Switchover Help Scheme - which provides switchover assistance to vulnerable people - have jointly launched a public information campaign to ensure viewers in the region are prepared for the change.

"Today's announcement paves the way for a new era in broadcasting for viewers in parts of Suffolk and Essex," said Peter Monteith, Digital UK's regional manager for Anglia.

"We're preparing for the end of the analogue TV era and the dawn of a fully digital age in which everyone can enjoy extra choice and easier recording.

"Digital UK and the Switchover Help Scheme will ensure people know about this important change, and that advice and practical support are available."

Earlier in the week, the BBC-administered Switchover Help Scheme announced that it has now installed receiver equipment for more than 350,000 households in the UK.

30-09-2010, 09:46
Digital Revolution Studios and Wild Eyes Productions partner to bring high quality 3D entertainment into the home

Full service 3D production company, Digital Revolution Studios is proud to announce its newly founded partnership with Wild Eyes Productions.

The newly founded company, DRS-Wild Eyes, is a strategic partnership designed to carry out a multitude of stereoscopic 3D documentary and docu-reality productions made specifically for the home market. By combining Digital Revolution Studios' mastery of stereoscopic 3D content production and technologies with Wild Eyes' significant track record in television, documentary and docu-reality filmmaking, the two companies are satiating the fast-growing demand for 3D entertainment worldwide.

DRS-Wild Eyes currently has its crew in full swing on 2 major productions for global distribution. Both projects unite cutting edge technology with high quality documentary-style filmmaking that feature a tougher side of life that many of us would never get to see. But now, for the first time in history, the public will be able to experience these stories as though they were right there, but from the comfort of their own homes. Among many exciting projects is their 3D African Safari adventure, where audiences will be given a virtual tour of the animal kingdom in some of the most rare and captivating environments known to man. Wild Eyes President David Keane states, "This is a very exciting time for us to be out in the fields doing what we do best, telling the extraordinary stories of the world. And now with the support of our 3D experts, our stories will reach people on a whole new level, and the possibilities are limitless!"

Digital Revolution Studios CEO, Gina Tanner states, "Our diverse team is currently pioneering some of the most in-depth storytelling with the 3D medium, thanks to the wealth of experience and talent Wild Eyes contributes to our projects. As we embark on this new era, we are fully equipped to make an impact on the future of entertainment by upholding the highest standards of quality content and production." It is DRS' motto to create beautifully realistic 3D on a businessman's budget. DRS President, Craig Tanner, has created a state-of-the-art 3D workflow that exceeds industry standards but does not break the bank. Emmy Award-winning Craig Tanner was the Visual Effects Editor of AVATAR. His motive is to supply the growing demand of quality 3D content within homes around the globe.

Studios have announced over 30 feature films to be released in 3D next year, and by the end of 2010, more than 50 broadcasters and TV operators will be offering 3D services to the home. The current price for a Samsung 50" 3D display is as low as $1,099, comparable to the average HD display. By the year 2013, Displaybank predicts over 86 percent of all plasmas will be 3D enabled and according to IMS Research, approximately 40 percent of U.S. households will have a 3D TV by the end of 2014. As the industry continues to invest in 3D and the audience continues to embrace it, DRS-Wild Eyes will continue to supply the masses with highly immersive and spectacular entertainment. Keep both eyes peeled for an exciting release of 3D productions coming your way in 2011, brought to you by Digital Revolution Studios and DRS-Wild Eyes.

30-09-2010, 09:47
As video delivered over the Internet continues to eat up increasing levels of bandwid

Does this fly in the face of network neutrality?

As video delivered over the Internet continues to eat up increasing levels of bandwidth, BT has announced that it will be working with Cisco to provide a dedicated network to deliver high quality video to end users' Internet connected televisions, computers and mobile devices.

BT said it would be using Cisco's Content Delivery System as the 'backbone' for its open online video delivery network dubbed Content Connect. This, it said, was designed to improve the experience of watching and listening to digital content on the web; Cisco itself has predicted that online video will represent some 91% of global consumer traffic by 2014.

BT said that many media groups already use content delivery networks, but in many cases these services only reach the 'edge of the ISP network'. As such the final stage of those services, people actually watching them, are delivered over the top and there are no guarantees on the quality of service.

Alternatively, BT's platform will circumvent ISPs, and 'cache content deep in the broadband network' and so deliver it much closer to the end user avoiding congested areas of the network, BT said. This, in turn, enables broadcasters to provide video content – and in the future live TV - with an assured level of service to the viewer, providing uninterrupted access even at peak times. "This provides broadcasters with the predictable user experience critical to supporting advertising or pay models".

Simon Orme, BT Wholesale's Strategy Director of Content Services, said: "Our industry is witnessing a significant growth in content delivery over broadband – driven by the consumption of video services at home, at work and on the move.

"Working with Cisco enables us to offer an efficient, long-term solution and bringing the power of broadband and content together leads to exciting, innovative end user experiences. It will allow all players – including content service providers – to extract more value from content services in the future while pleasing end users."

Kip Compton, general manager of video & content platforms business unit at Cisco added: "Because of the variety of content available on the Internet, consumers are now accustomed to choice; they want to access entertainment content, anytime, anywhere. The Cisco Content Delivery System will help BT work more closely with content providers to meet the demands from today's savvy consumers."

OK, so it goes without saying that something needs to be done to account for the growth in online video, but is this the right way to go about it? ISPs that want to provide this high level video delivery will obviously have to pay for the pleasure, and therefore charge a premium to end users. Arguably this will create exactly that 'two-tiered Internet' so loathed by net neutrality advocates, right?

This was one of the major areas of contention around the Google/Verizon net neutrality recommendations in America last month – the idea of differentiated, or managed, services. At the time, rights group Public Knowledge's Gigi B. Sohn, said, "While there would be no pay for priority on the best efforts Internet, there are almost no limits on so-called "managed services... If managed services are allowed to cannibalize the best efforts Internet, whatever protections are agreed to for the latter become, for all intents and purposes, meaningless."

Newspaper City AM put the question to BT's managing director of products Cameron Rejali who denied that the service would create a two tier internet, which is not surprising, saying it was simply a more effective way for ISPs to manage traffic.

"We are not saying people can't access content unless it is paid for. You can go out and get the same content from multiple locations. But some ISPs want to pay to ensure a quality service. I disagree that this raises a net neutrality question. It will actually be significantly cheaper for ISPs so we do not think smaller service providers will be hurt by this."

BT expects to introduce the Content Connect service in early 2011, which will fit in with the timing for launch of Project Canvas – which is expected to use the service.

30-09-2010, 09:48
RSCC has ordered two satellites Series Express AT and Express AM8

The Russian national satellite operator RSCC (Russian Satellite Communications Company) ordered the making and delivery of three telecommunications satellites Express AT1, Express AT2 and Express AM8.

Jointly build satellites of OAO ISS Academician MF Reshetnev and Thales Alenia Space.

Satellite Express AT1 replace existing satellites Bonum 1 at the orbital position 56°E. Express AT1 will be equipped with 32 Ku-band transponders.

Express AT2 will have 16 transponders. Satellite will be positioned at 36°E and is expected to supply services for the European part of Russia, the Urals and eastern Siberia. Capacity of the AT1 and AT2 satellite will use existing Russian DTH platform. Start the two satellites are scheduled for the end of 2012.

Satellite Express AM8 will be equipped with 42 transponders in C, Ku and L band and will be located at the westernmost RSCC orbital position - that is, at 14 degree west. Express AM8 will provide communications and broadcasting in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. Start of regular service satellite is scheduled for 2013.

"Satellites Express AT1 and Express AT2 opens new perspectives for the development of direct broadcasting in the Russian Federation, including the provision of high-definition TV and 3D format," said CEO of RSCC Yuri Prokhorov.

30-09-2010, 09:49
13E: RRsat release tp. 10.971 GHz?

The imminent major changes in broadcast services on tp. 123 (10.971 GHz, pol. H, SR: 27500, FEC: 3/4; DVB-S/QPSK) satellite Hot Bird 8 (13E). Global satellite service provider RRsat Global Communications Network, which is the operator of this capacity, the movement runs the campaign of television channels on other frequencies position 13E.

In total, the new transponders were already six television channels. The first was the Baby TV. Parallel transmission is started by RRsat in early August this year. with tp. 115 (10.815 GHz, pol. H, SR: 27500, FEC: 5/6, DVB-S/QPSK) on Hot Bird 6 (13E). The second was Russia Today, which at the end of August. reported on the tp. 6 (11.317 GHz, pol. V, SR: 27500, FEC: 3/4; DVB-S/QPSK) Hot Bird 9 satellite (13E).

22 September was to move four channels: Music Box Russia, The Word Network, TV and Imam Hussein Payam e Afghan. Stations copied to the frequency of the Belgian operator's BSS - tp. 157 (11.642 GHz, pol. H, SR: 27500, FEC: 3/4; DVB-S/QPSK) satellites Hot Bird 6 (13E).

At the transponder 123. 9 remains FTA channels (TRT Türk, MRTV/Univ TV, Al Anwar, La8, LA9, Telenova, NTD TV, GOD Europe, EU Armenia) and 8 radio stations.

Recall that RRsat slowed last round tp. 75 (12.207 GHz, pol. H, SR: 27500, FEC: 3/4; DVB-S/QPSK) on Hot Bird 8 (13E). Almost all the content moved to tp. 115 (10.815 GHz, pol. H, SR: 27500, FEC: 5 / 6; DVB-S/QPSK) satellites Hot Bird 6 (13E). Spare capacity will be used to pay-TV channels, but I do not know who she will fall. Maybe Sky Italia?

30-09-2010, 09:50
Cable becomes ultimate content aggregator

CTAM EUROSUMMIT ’10 – BUDAPEST. Cable should become the aggregator of aggregators, according to Joshua Danovitz, VP of TiVo’s international business.

Opening this year’s CTAM EuroSummit event, Danovitz said the consumer was feeling disenfranchised from the industry and it was the job of the cableco to help them. “We’re bringing out more features and more technology and the poor consumer feels they have to crawl over all these things in order to get to the content we want to give them.”

In a subtle promotion for the TiVo technology, Danovitz explained operators were moving from the denial of over the top movie services such as Netflix to letting their customers have direct access to third party content. Search and discovery was, he said, one of the greatest challenges now facing operators. “To deliver successful television we need to aggregate the aggregators and present it in a way the consumer will enjoy it.”

Danovitz said it was pointless trying to bolt on applications such as Facebook to the TV and that there was a genuine opening for the company creating a TV-based application that brought in friend recommendations allowing the consumer to bond with the content. What wasn’t needed was a variety of applications each with a separate login: “We’re not used to having to login as a consumer, it creates feature for them, but it creates a barrier again. We’re looking at different types of profiles so that families can have a unique experience without there being a big wall dividing them.

According to Danovitz, cable had a privileged position by being at input one of the consumer’s TV set.

30-09-2010, 09:51
Award winners find promo CAP fits

CTAM EUROSUMMIT ’10 – BUDAPEST. CTAM Europe has announced the winners of its annual Creative Awards Programme (CAP) with UPC Austria, Telenet and ZON all taking home prizes.

UPC Austria waltzed off with Gold in Brand Image and Positioning for its ‘Fiberpower on your PC campaign’. In Acquisition or Retention Marketing it was Telenet that took Gold for its digital TV campaign ‘Pause’. The launch of ZON’s new broadband service Fibra was enough for the New Product or Service Launch, while Chellomedia stole both Gold and Silver in Brand Image and Positioning. HBO Central Europe repeated the feat in Acquisition or Retention Marketing.

The New Product or Service Launch was awarded to E! Entertainment Television/ Comcast International Media Group for its Chelsea Lately campaign.
Full List of Winners:

Brand Image and Positioning
Gold: UPC Austria, Fiberpower on your PC
Silver: Com Hem, Com Hem TV on your demand
Bronze: Vectra, Welcome to Vectra’s World

Acquisition or Retention Marketing
Gold: Telenet, Digital TV campaign – Pause (Evi naked)
Silver: UPC Netherlands, Fiber Power (Tubes)
Bronze: Telenet, Fastest internet campaign – Jockey

New Product or Service Launch
Gold: ZON, ZON Fibra Campaign
Silver: SBB – Serbia Broadband, SBB HDTV – Better and Better
Bronze: ZON, ZON KIDS TV Remote Control

Brand Image and Positioning
Gold: Chello Creative, Tim Burton Library
Silver: Chello Creative, Fly Me To The Movies
Bronze: HBO Central Europe/Creative Services, Cinemax brand reposition

Acquisition or Retention Marketing
Gold: HBO Central Europe/Creative Services, Cinemax Good Movies – Bad Tunes
Silver: HBO Central Europe/Creative Services, No Ad and HBO.eu
Bronze: Discovery Networks Europe, Turbo Month

New Product or Service Launch
Gold: E! Entertainment Television/Comcast International Media Group, Chelsea Lately
Silver: HBO Polska, Let’s run away from her
Bronze: SPT Networks CE, AXN Catch-up TV spots

30-09-2010, 09:52
Cable companies can’t ignore newcomers

CTAM EUROSUMMTI ’10 – BUDAPEST. There is a growing threat from connected TVs and hybrid devices, said the BBC’s Jonathan Charles. There are at least 14 identified, including the BBC’s Canvas – and they all will have an impact on cable’s audiences.

“The worst thing that cable operators can do is ignore it,” according to Nico Rijkhoff, director brand & marketing communication, Ziggo, during the Marketing Leadership Forum. “And it is a serious threat. I was at IFA, in Berlin, and there were lot of 3D TVs, but also a lot of Net TVs. I saw a small set up in Samsung booth and there was Google TV, very smart an very easy. That is good for the consumer. There is going to be a fierce competition.”

Rijkhoff also said you can’t always trust research. “Customers prefer to choose their own package, research shows. So we tried selling a la carte offerings, but it never really worked. Packaging is most convenient.”

David Hulbert, director, Ravensbeck, said: “Satellite companies are passionate about content and entertainment. Telcos don’t really believe in content. Cable companies are somewhere in the middle, but some operators are obsessive in reducing cost of content.”

“The smartest platform use packaging to trade customers up and driving ARPU up and reducing churn,” he added.

30-09-2010, 09:52
Cablecos using social media to improve customer care

CTAM EUROSUMMIT ’10 – BUDAPEST. Social media can be a good source of marketing, but it can also be a good customer care tool, according to Ola Eriksson, Com Hem’s social media editor.

Eriksson said cablecos could be proactive, by monitoring not just the high profile sites such as Twitter and Facebook but also those frequented by often-vocal early adopters and technical enthusiasts. “We don’t always solve the problem right away, we can often make a positive impact just being there and telling them we’re working on the problem.”

Kevin van der Straeten, online TV manager, Telenet explained how the Flemish cableco’s online customer service agent ‘Charlotte’ proactively responds to comments posted on Facebook. Detailing the launch of the operator’s new remote recording programme over Twitter, van der Straeten said that 10,000 registrations came from a Twitter-based marketing campaign. “When I went into pub that evening in Antwerp I heard people already talking about it. The product we were launching was targeting early adopters and we know that the audience was on Twitter.

David Noone, director of strategy solutions at Convergys, introduced the concept of the ‘social media multiplyer’ in that that 45 people will typically read a comment or Tweet. “Just reading about it is not too important, but comments you made two years ago are still available if you do a search on Google.”

30-09-2010, 09:53
The new hybrid

Satellite has emerged as the new combination for hybrid IPTV receivers, writes Julian Clover

It is something of a curiosity that at the same time as shipments of set-top boxes are falling for the first time in almost a decade, a new box is beginning to emerge. The Screen Digest report (Broadband TV News Wednesday) explained that the reason for the decline is in part down to a saturation of the IPTV market.

Followers of the sector will note that while the managed IPTV services of France, Belgium and Sweden have been popular additions to the multichannel mix, in other markets it doesn’t take long for the saturation point to be reached.

The ‘new’ IPTV is over-the-top, the term has become so blurred anyway, at least that’s what it felt like at IBC. But take a step back and you’ll recall Le Cube. The chic Canal+ set-top has been in the market for the best part of three years, successfully combining satellite delivered linear channels with VOD content. Similar services are available in Scandinavia, Canal Digital now competing with rival Viasat, and Sky expected to launch its Sky Anytime+ before the end of the year.

There is more to come. The past two weeks have seen the announcement of two new platforms. This time using the satellite-IPTV, or perhaps more accurately Broadband TV combination, not as a bolt on to an existing service but on a Greenfield site. The two operators Vodafone Germany and Belgium’s Mobistar might once have considered launching a pure IPTV play. Instead they have gone the way of satellite and an array of channels unlikely to be found elsewhere.

What might have happened if BT had chosen satellite over terrestrial to provide linear channel support for BT Vision.

Cable operators are also running parts of their networks over IP. Monaco Telecom is one we’ve mentioned before, using a Netgem platform to upgrade its ten year old digital infrastructure. The Netgem approach is one that maintains a single look and feel throughout the user interface, even when it comes to YouTube, where a dedicated area has been created.

Despite complaints that the pacification is too rigid you can see why YouView, as we must learn to title Project Canvas, wants to keep a tight reign over its appearance. This is something Freeview and Freesat have never had, though the new Freeview HD now proscribes that its brand appears on the PG,

For the new breed of IPTV providers it’s mix and match. Vodafone’s proposals, which may well be replicated by the company in other markets also have the option to piggy back on analogue cable. A forward thinking company that is betting on its competitors staying where they are.

30-09-2010, 09:54
3DTV rights holders put squeeze on operators

CTAM EUROSUMMIT ’10 – BUDAPEST. Cable operators are finding it difficult to secure 3D content because the Hollywood majors and sports rights holders are looking to derive additional revenues from the new format.

“The way the release windows are being managed is that 3D is being handled in a different way and that is causing problems for us both as a channel and as an aggregator,” Jorge Filipe Garcia, head of product, Zon TV, told delegates to the CTAM EuroSummit in Budapest. “For the first time during the World Cup we have seen rights being brokered on technologies and if that happens again there will be some very interesting conversations going forward”. Garcia added that if Avatar had followed the pattern of normal release windows it would already have been released.

“Hollywood has produced a lot of 3D, but is holding back, so we’re playing in the second league unless we produce it ourselves,” added Benny Salaets, product marketing manager, Telenet. He said that there had been a shift in the attentions of the consumer electronics manufacturers, who after initial interest in joint promotions have turned their attentions to connected TV product. “It is evident that the movie theatres want to make more margins, but the rest of the market needs to make its mind up on where they will position the Blu-ray HD stuff, and when they’ve made up their minds on that we’ll come next.”

Vassillis Serferidis, director, European business development, Samsung Electronics defended the position of the manufacturers that had initially taken the lead on the production of major events such as the World Cup. “There’s a fundamental problem here that in bringing a product to market we say to a cable operator can you put a channel online, but they can’t because they don’t have the content, which is why we have to talk [directly] to the content providers.

Serferidis said he anticipated the approach may change as more 3D content became available during 2011.

30-09-2010, 09:55
Connected TV landscape: present and future

CTAM EUROSUMMIT ’10 – BUDAPEST. Although only 0.7% of the 90 million TV households in the US have so far cancelled their pay-TV subscriptions and rely on receiving services over broadband, the trend is clearly growing.

Speaking in a session entitled TV retakes centre stage, Kurt Scherf, VP & Principal Analyst, Parks Associate, said that 9% of US pay-TV consumers have a strong inclination to cancel their subscriptions in the next 12 months.

What is more, Park Associates predicts that 10 million households in the US will be linking PCs to TVs to watch web video at the end of the year.

Scherf added that 30 million connected TVs will be sold worldwide this year – equivalent to 18% of total TV sales. By 2014, however, this figure will rise to 130 million, or 60% of total sales.

In an analysis of the connected TV landscape, Scherf added that online viewers watch more not less TV; consumers find the TV Everywhere feature appealing, but few express a willingness to pay for it; and that the most popular connected TV features that can predict a purchase have been found to be social networking updates and sync electronic calendar.

30-09-2010, 09:56
MTV expands HD line-up

MTV Networks International has announced a major expansion in its HD output, launching a dedicated Nickelodeon HD channel in the UK on October 5, and extending the brand internationally from next year.

MTV already has an HD channel in the UK market, MTVNHD, which has taken content both from the youth network and kids channel Nickelodeon. During the summer it launched Comedy Central HD.

The new Nickelodeon HD is slated for launch in Poland, Russia, Israel and Brazil during 2011. Following the launch of Nickelodeon HD the weekend block on MTVNHD will cease.

“With the successful launch and expansion of MTVNHD in less than two years, we are committed to further investment in the high definition medium across our industry leading brands,” commented Bob Bakish, President of MTVNI. “These new HD services will create stronger bonds with our kid, youth and adult audiences, as well as provide innovative new products to cable and satellite operators as demand continues to grow. HD will help fuel our long-term creative and business growth as we continue to leverage our global scale and expertise to develop, package and deliver quality content across all platforms.”

Launched in 2008, MTVNHD is expected to be available in 30 countries by the year-end. It is currently available in 7 million households including recent launches Bulgaria and Malta

30-09-2010, 09:56
News Corp chief: ‘Don’t panic over cord-cutting’

News Corp Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey has downplayed the threat of OTT services calling it just “flavour of the month” for investment analysis.

Major TV companies have been barraged by questions about the threat of online video after Credit Suisse last week downgraded the entertainment sector, citing the potential for Netflix and other web video services to cause consumers to cancel their traditional pay-TV subscription – a phenomenon known as “cord-cutting.”

“Digital is an issue we have to deal with, and we have to manage,” said Carey at an investor conference in New York City. “But it’s a long-term issue.”

Carey said so-called over-the-top video services may not have a substantial effect on the TV market for years to come. In the meantime, he expects the pay-TV industry to experiment with the timing of its video releases on different technology platforms, as well as online pay walls, as it seeks to adjust its business model to accommodate the rise of digital video.

30-09-2010, 09:57
EU Parliament backs anti-piracy report

The European Parliament has adopted a non-legislative report on enforcement of intellectual property rights, calling for tougher application of intellectual rights and copyright harmonisation at the EU level. Meanwhile, civil liberties activists warn that such moves would undermine fundamental freedoms in the bloc.

“Online piracy is an infringement of copyright and causes serious economic damage to artists, to creative industries and to all those whose jobs depend on these industries,” Marielle Gallo, a French conservative MEP and author of the report said after 328 MEPs voted in favour of the proposal and 245 against.

The report asks the European Commission to propose a “comprehensive strategy” on intellectual property rights “which will remove obstacles to creating a single market in the online environment” and adopt an European legislative framework in the field.

In the resolution, MEPs also said that they do not agree with the commission’s view that the current civil enforcement framework in the EU is sufficiently effective and harmonised. They asked the EU executive to “address urgently” the issue of multi-territory licences and the harmonisation of legislation on copyright, which, they believe, should improve access to digital markets by overcoming geographical borders.

30-09-2010, 09:58
3D ‘device window’ undermines dedicated channels

Cable operators say studios are carving out a new and expensive window for 3D, something the TV, DVD and console makers welcome as it helps them sell devices, but which minimises the upside of dedicated 3D channels for operators.

In discussions at the CTAM EuroSummit in Budapest, operators said the mass market for 3D content – which could be reached by cable channels – was being deprived because of separate and earlier windows designed to maximise sales for device makers. They claimed the development of the 3D market was slowed down as a result.

Vassilis Seferidis, director of European business development at Samsung Electronics Europe, defended consumer electronics collaboration with the studios noting said: “When you launch a product you need content. We have to go directly to the content owners and work with them.” He said the problem would solve itself as 3D production became more routine

30-09-2010, 09:59
Facebook dominates new media landscape

Interpret, an entertainment, media and technology market research firm, has released data from its quarterly New Media Measure study that tracks media behaviours, device ownership, attitudes and product consumption. Behaviour and trending data from its 2010 second-quarter report reveals the preference for streaming over downloading video and the growth of Facebook within the social media and gaming arenas.

The study finds that not only has the incidence of streaming grown over the past year, but the volume of TV shows and movies streamed by the average consumer has increased. Netflix and Hulu remain the dominant players, with Hulu in particular viewed as a major destination for TV streaming – 40 per cent of TV streamers have watched TV on Hulu.com in the past three months.

While Netflix and Hulu continue to battle for video streaming supremacy, Facebook continues to dominate not only social networking but casual gaming as well. Nearly every (93 per cent) online woman 35 and over accesses Facebook at least once every two weeks. This demographic also happens to be a highly engaged group of casual gamers, helping Facebook to continue its reign as the top casual gaming site, nearly doubling its reach from the second quarter of 2009.

30-09-2010, 10:00
Zombie’ craft may still interfere

Intelsat’s Galaxy 15 communications satellite, dubbed the “zombie satellite,” lost contact with its controllers in April but is stuck “on” and continues to transmit signals as its operators on Earth work to avoid potential interference with other nearby spacecraft. Galaxy 15 passed Anik F2 without harm on Sept 9, which suggests that Intelsat’s engineers have become extremely efficient at performing a sort of celestial ballet as they avoid potentially catastrophic situations.

Intelsat engineers had estimated – or hoped - that the satellite would lose power and shut itself off in late August, but that has not happened. “It has not powered down yet, and it continues to drift — but we still know where it’s going, and it’s still following a predictable path,” Intelsat spokesman Nick Mitsis said. Galaxy 15 was launched to 133 deg West back in October 2005, and control was lost in April 2010 with the blame centred on a damaging and powerful solar flare which happened at the same time.

Since then the satellite has drifted at a very steady rate of some 0.16 degrees East per day, and over the past few months has drifted alongside Galaxy 13, Galaxy 14 and an EchoStar and DirecTV craft. Some satellites within its path cause no transmission problem because they are using either different frequencies or have their beams focused on a region outside the continental USA. For example, it is now in the vicinity of SatMex 5, but while engineers will be monitoring the situation extremely closely there will be little or no risk of interference. Sirius/XM’s XM4 is the next in line, then SatMex 6.

The next few weeks or so will therefore see Galaxy 15 pass Anik F2, the two EchoStar craft at 110 deg West, and DirecTV 5. Two more Aniks (F1 and F1R) will need to be avoided at 107.3 degrees, but they are many weeks away in terms of Galaxy 15’s possible route.

Intelsat officials stress there is no risk of it physically colliding with other spacecraft, so their team’s main focus is preventing Galaxy 15′s signals from interfering with neighboring satellites. The 4,171-pound satellite has resisted many attempts to shut it down, leaving the defunct satellite stuck drifting in space and still “talking.”

Intelsat’s engineers – and those looking after the other fleets – have their satellites on a very close watch and insist that while the whole episode is regrettable there is absolutely no prospect of an in-orbit collision. Diane vanBeber, Intelsat’s VP/Investor Relations, compared the situation to two mirrors reflecting the same image as one passes the other. “If you’re looking at a mirror, it’s sending its image back to you,” she said. “But if another mirror came around the top of that mirror and was passing by, that would also reflect the image you were sending back as well. When you have two different signals coming down, that creates the interference,” she said.

Ultimately, it is expected that the Intelsat platform will lose the ability to point its solar panels at the Sun and experience total power failure. This could take some months, and as far as Intelsat is concerned cannot happen soon enough. When this ‘failure’ happens the Intelsat engineers will then have a fresh chance to ‘re-boot’ the satellite and possibly recover their valuable asset.

30-09-2010, 10:01
Roku HD streaming players

Roku, the OTT STB maker, has unveiled its new product line-up, with up to 1080p HD streaming support and Instant Replay, the three new players are shipping immediately at prices starting from $59.99. All models feature high-definition playback as well as support for older, standard definition TVs.

The three new Roku models are: the entry-level Roku HD at $59.99; the Roku XD with Wireless-N and 1080p, and the top-of-the-line Roku XDS, which adds dual-band wireless technology and extensive connectivity options for home entertainment systems. All Roku players will continue to deliver content from Netflix, Amazona and MLB.TV among others

30-09-2010, 10:02
YouTube claims victory in Spain

YouTube cannot be held responsible for screening images uploaded on its site, a Spanish court in Madrid said in a case brought by broadcaster Telecinco over alleged copyright infringement.

Google, which owns the video-sharing site YouTube, immediately said the decision is a “clear victory for the internet.” An initial ruling in 2008 backed Telecinco but Google challenged that decision and the Madrid court has now reversed the judgement on appeal.

Telecinco believed that “the broadcast on the (YouTube) internet site of various audiovisual recordings … was a violation of the intellectual property rights of Telecinco,” the Madrid court said in its ruling, made on Monday but released today. But it is “physically impossible to control all the videos that are made available to users, as there are in fact more than 500 million.

“YouTube is not a supplier of content and therefore has no obligation to control ex-ante the illegality” of what is on its site, said the ruling, issued in Spanish. “Its only obligation is to cooperate with the holders of the rights in order to immediately withdraw the content once the infraction is identified.”

YouTube commented on its blog: “The court rejected Telecinco’s claim, noting that YouTube offers content owners tools to remove copyright infringing content and this means that it is the responsibility of the copyright owner – not YouTube – to identify and tell YouTube when infringing content is on its website. This decision reaffirms European law which recognizes that content owners (not service providers like YouTube) are in the best position to know whether a specific work is authorised to be on an Internet hosting service and states that websites like YouTube have a responsibility to take down unauthorised material only when they are notified by the owner.”

30-09-2010, 10:02
Calle 13 HD in menu Digital+

Spanish channel, Calle 13, belonging to Universal Networks International, has launched its HD version in the satellite pay-TV platform Digital+. station Calle 13 HD is the Spanish counterpart to Television 13th Street Universal, which is broadcast in Poland and several other countries.

In addition to launching HD versions Calle 13 was been rebranding Calle 13. Station has new graphics and logo.

Calle 13 is focused on crime serials and films, and thrillers.

Technical parameters:
Astra 1KR (19.2°E) freq 11.627 GHz, pol. V, SR 22000, FEC 2/3, DVB-S2/8PSK, CA Nagravision 3

30-09-2010, 10:03
Turksat 1C ceased operation at position 31E

Turkish telecommunication satellite Turksat 1C has ceased distribution of all programs and services at the orbital position 31 degree east. The satellite will be used for distribution purposes (programs, feeds, data). Satellite is not currently used.

Turksat 1C was handed the launcher Ariane 4 at 10 July 1996. After completing their mission, at position 42°E Aerospace apparatus was moved to a new location 31°E, from which ensures distribution services in western union (Turkey and Europe) and East (Turkey + Central Asia).

Turksat 1C has a total of 16 Ku-band transponders, of which 5 to 72 MHz bandwidth, two 54 MHz band width and the remaining nine, the width of 36 MHz.

Sat supplied by Alcatel Alenia Space Industries.

30-09-2010, 10:04
Telekarta - Russia's new platform starts to come alive

The Russian satellite market will start a new project called Telekarta. The new satellite platform aims to provide viewers access to basic public demanded, and paid commercial programs.

On the Telekarta all public stations, plus STS, REN TV, Zvezda, Telenjanja, Domašnyj telekanal, Discovery Channel, Universal Channel KHL TV Mužskoj telekanal and Zagoradnaja žiznj. The packet is a total of 18 programs.

Subscriptions were set at 600 rubles per year, ie 384 CZK per year.

The programs are broadcast from a satellite Intelsat 15 (85.2°E), which jointly benefit from the competitive service Continent TV. Telekarta will use Conax conditional access system.

Technical parameters:
Intelsat 15 (85.2°E) freq 12.640 GHz, pol. V, SR 30000, FEC 5/6, DVB-S/QPSK

Details of the platform can be found at the web telekarta.tv.

30-09-2010, 10:05
NTK-orbit on 1 October at 36E

1 October 2010 in Russia in the transmission of the satellite clock will start 36E NTK-Orbit channels. Access to these subscribers will have the platform NTV-Plus and Trikolor TV. Its sister station NTK is intended for residents of Kuban region, which includes the Krasnodar Krai, South Tyrol and parts of Rostov Oblast, and the National Stawropolskiego Karaczajewo-Cherkessia. This region owes its name to the river, which flows through it.

NTK-orbit will be different from the regional NTK (Noveo Televidenie Kuban) terrestrial broadcast primarily offer software that is designed for a wider audience, throughout Russia. NTK-Orbit will broadcast programs that have had time to gain the fans. At a mass of spectators waiting for new programs: social, political, sporting, entertainment. There will be interviews and live broadcasts of major sporting events in southern Russia. NTK-orbit is also the educational programs and concerts, teams of multinational cultures.

NTK Website: ntktv.ru

30-09-2010, 10:06
Sistem Cable from Venezuela digitalizes with April Digital

At the beginning of 2010, the operator Sistem Cable from Venezuela, which records 11,000 subscribers in the capital city of Caracas, started its DVB-C migration with the American firm April Digital, which has its own system. According to what Rubén Yuskowich, Sistema Cable President, told NexTV Latam, two thousand STBs have already been installed and some "four thousand devices" are expected to reach the country.

In 2003, Sistema Cable coded its analog operation with Motorola given "high illegality indexes" and "constant channel robbery", Yuskowich explained. At present, Motorola devices are being replaced "in stages" - about 28,000 already installed devices - by April Digital STBs. On the other hand, the EPG is provided by the Argentine company DataFactory for its digital service.

According to Yuskowich, the decision to digitalize gradually results not only from costs but also the impossibility to have access to the American currency, in face of the Exchange control existing in the country. According to data recorded as of 2010 first semester in Venezuela, 2,21 million Pay-TV subscribers were recorded. The DTH DirecTV and cable operators Inter, NetUno and Supercable are the main operators of such country.

30-09-2010, 10:06
The Argentine Government delivered 121, 000 DTT STBs

According to what Osvaldo Nemirovsci, general coordinator of the Argentine DTT Digital TV System, told NexTV Latam, the Argentine Government has already delivered 121,000 free DTT STBs in Buenos Aires province. The executive stated that an average of 1,500 devices is sorted out on a daily basis by Argentine mail. Coradir, one of the providers for this initiative, has already delivered the Government about 250,000 STBs out of the 510,000 acquired by such company.

STBs distribution will be extended over other areas of the country, once the 47 broadcasting antenna first installation plan is finished. According to what Nemirovsci informed, within the following 60 days, facilities will be operating in Campana, Baradero and Luján, located in Buenos Aires province. Before year end, La Plata, Resistencia (Chaco province) and San Miguel de Tucumán (Tucumán province) facilities will be ready.

"Coradir provides Correo Argentino 20,000 STBs weekly", Juan Baretto, VP of the company told NexTV Latam. Devices are manufactured in San Luis province. STBs are sold to the public for USD 176 in two sale points (in San Luis and Buenos Aires). The company also sells 34 inches TV sets fitted with ISDB-T tuner for USD 860.

In addition to Coradir, the Metallurgic Industry Association of the Argentine Republic and Cometrans are also local providers. It is estimated that by 2012 about 100 broadcasting facilities, which will offer coverage to the 95% of the territory, will be built. The service for the remaining 5% will be rendered via satellite. The installation of antennas and STBs in 8,100 rural schools is scheduled for satellite TV reception. According to the Government, in March 2011, there will be 2,000 already equipped schools.

30-09-2010, 10:07
500 million broadband subscribers worldwide

IPTV subscriptions are also up as providers hop on the broadband train

One day in late July, an unwitting citizen, probably in a shop in China, perhaps on the phone, marked a milestone in the global spread of the Internet, their sign-up representing the 500 millionth broadband subscription.

We'll never know who they are, but their enthusiasm for the Internet meant one in every five of the world's households now has a broadband connection. A truly astonishing figure and one that reinforces the great opportunities the Internet presents for the broadcasting industry.

The landmark was revealed at the Broadband Forum's quarterly meeting in Hong Kong, where a seemingly very rosy picture for global IPTV was also disclosed.

Global broadband subscriptions had reached 497,768,162 by the end of June, so working on a 2.63 percent quarterly growth rate, industry analysts Point Topic pinpointed broadband's big day as sometime in the third week of July.

The reason it was probably a Chinese customer is down to China's dominance of global broadband growth. It was responsible for 43 percent of all broadband connections added in the second quarter of 2010, China adding 5,470,888 lines and bringing its total to 120,591,488.

That said, Point Topic reported many Western European markets did better than the equivalent quarter in 2009, with Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland and Turkey all turning in strong numbers.

While broadband markets in Central and South America have "cooled", they were still reporting good quarterly growth of between 5 and 7 percent. I

In overall terms, Asia now accounts for 41 percent of the world's broadband market. Europe is second with 30 percent and the Americas run third on 26 percent.

It's in North America, particularly Canada, where there's been a leveling off in broadband subscriptions. "The end of housing stimulus packages in North America has badly affected growth in broadband. However all other regions performed better in the second quarter of 2010 than the same period in 2009," said Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic.

"It has only taken 11 years to get to half a billion fixed broadband lines. The Internet and all that it brings has taken hold like no technology since the invention of fire. It has brought the world closer together, improved health and education standards and introduced an era of cooperation and information sharing that will hasten economic growth and improve standards of living for potentially billions around the world."

Well, the wheel might have something to say about that, but Johnson's right in recognizing the brobdingnagian benefits the Internet brings. It is part of our daily lives and connects people in a way even the telephone would struggle to emulate.

Certainly, broadband continues to deliver for the broadcasting media. IPTV continues its remorseless advance, with 2.3 million new IPTV subscribers in the second quarter of 2010, taking advantage of the increasingly higher speeds and better value broadband packages on offer worldwide.

According to Point Topic, 38.5 million people were using IPTV by the end of June, growth pretty much inline with broadband growth.

It's taken strongest root in Europe, with 19 million subscribers, nearly half of them in France, where they are able to watch the latest Roma evictions live on their PCs and other, connected devices.

China has 6.7 million IPTV subscribers, none of whom can watch anything remotely controversial. The US is in third place with nearly 6.5 million, all of whom can watch pretty much whatever's available, depending on their service provider.

According to Oliver Johnson, "most IPTV markets have not reached saturation, so there is plenty more room for growth. As more and more consumers switch to fiber for their broadband, we will see the numbers of IPTV subscribers climbing in those markets where FTTx (optical fiber) deployment is powering ahead."

There is some heavy rain forecast for the IPTV parade. The growth in broadband subscriptions is still far out ahead of the growth in Internet-enabled Television purchases, but connected TVs and OTT services, Xbox LIVE, Playstation, Google TV and Apple TV will make it much easier for consumers to grab their content without recourse to a walled garden IPTV subscription from some Telco.

The very same push towards higher broadband speeds, better subscription packages and fiber power, coupled with increasingly affordable Internet-enabled devices, means content producers have more avenues to the consumer than at the moment.

They will be driven down those avenues by Internet advertising services enabling true ad management and interaction for the consumer and real measurement for the advertiser.

The next half a billion broadband subscribers will instantly enjoy all sorts of opportunities their predecessors could only dream about when they signed up eleven years ago, and so too the broadcasting industry can take advantage of all the new ways of getting content in front of eyeballs. As we report in our review of Microsoft's move to take its Zune digital entertainment system worldwide, the share ratings for some of the traditional pay-TV overlords are coming down, with the likes of Netflix gaining credibility and value.

Whatever the broadcasting industry does, the consumer is going OTT anyway, powered by all that broadband.

30-09-2010, 10:08
Microsoft joins the streaming revolution, taking Zune international

How nervous should traditional pay operators be?

The past few weeks have been filled with news of new video on demand offerings, content deals with Hollywood studios, Apple, Google and Amazon all getting in on the streaming action, and continued talk of 'cord cutting'.

Now Microsoft is riding the entertainment wave, announcing that this autumn it will be expanding its digital entertainment service Zune outside of the US, hoping to give some additional entertainment gusto to its Windows Phone 7 before it launches.

Microsoft said it would be bringing the free Zune software, Zune Marketplace online store (so international competition with iTunes), Zune Pass music subscription service and enhanced features on Zune.net to markets including the U.K., France, Italy, Spain, and Germany. This, it said, would be providing a "comprehensive entertainment experience on Windows-based PCs, on the go with Windows Phone 7 and in your living room through Xbox LIVE".

"The integration between Zune, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE is an exciting expansion in our entertainment offerings," said Craig Eisler, Corporate Vice President, Interactive Entertainment Business Group at Microsoft. "Zune enables users to access the entertainment they want, wherever they want it — and now, more people than ever will be able to enjoy the freedom and flexibility that the Zune service offers."

Apparently looking in the common direction of the iPhone and iTunes for inspiration, Zune software has been upgraded with new features and functionality and will serve as the Windows Phone 7 synchronization client. It will also enable instant streaming of high-definition movies, as well as the ability to purchase films from the Zune marketplace which can then be watched on the phone, PC or through the Xbox. This is in addition to music purchase, or use of the 'Zune Pass', which provides unlimited downloads and music streaming capabilities from the Zune music library.

The monthly music subscription service will be available for €9.99 or £8.99 per month for unlimited download and streaming access to the Zune music catalogue, again available on any of the three devices. Microsoft said its US offering would remain at $14.99 per month for unlimited downloads and streaming access, with the ability to keep 10 MP3s per month. This seems a clever way to go about things, providing both that on-demand stream that is gaining in popularity, as well as that going some way towards fulfilling the innate need for 'ownership'.

Microsoft said that the global expansion of its service was the latest step in a series of milestones for Zune, including powering Bing music search results, the added ability to purchase music and video on Zune.net, and the forthcoming integration with Xbox LIVE and Kinect for Xbox 360. "By continuing to integrate Zune across the most important screens to consumers, Zune provides an all-in-one music and video service for users to discover, enjoy and experience their entertainment wherever they want".

It is also another offering in the ever increasing stable of 'cord cutting' alternatives available to consumers, and its portability across devices makes it an interesting option, while of course simultaneously driving sales of the new Windows phone.

So is this yet another reason for traditional cable and satellite providers to be getting nervous? Maybe. This week Reuters reported that media and cable company stocks had dipped after Credit Suisse downgraded shares of Disney, Viacom, News Corp., and Time Warner, while raising their price targets for Netflix shares from $90 to $140.

Credit Suisse is anticipating an increase in the number of young people dropping their traditional pay television providers in favour of services like Netflix, or the range of other services becoming increasingly available. The repercussions of this would be obvious, in that that cable companies would have to reduce their fees to TV networks and Hollywood studios – or come up with viable alternatives of their own.

Credit Suisse has actually carried out a survey of Netflix subscribers, which found that almost 30 percent of those subscribers between the ages of 25 and 34 now watched Netflix instead of cable or satellite. Nearly a third of the service's users between 18 and 24 have cut the cord in favour of Netflix.

"Netflix's low cost, subscription streaming service is our biggest worry and could become 'good enough' for consumers with moderate income," said Credit Suisse.

Overall, only some 17% of Netflix users had dropped their traditional service, but the trend among those young customers should be worrying for traditional operators. As alternatives increasingly become available, and the cost of those alternatives remains far less than traditional operator charges, this is a trend which will only gain momentum; and the ability to transport movies, television programmes and music across multiple devices makes those alternatives even more attractive.

30-09-2010, 10:09
EC publishes three-pronged plans to hit broadband targets

Meanwhile the Council of Europe calls for international Internet treaty

The European Commission has published a package of measures to facilitate the roll-out and take-up of fast and ultra-fast broadband, aimed at hitting the targets set out in the European Digital Agenda.

The package takes a three-pronged approach, covering regulated access to Next Generation Access networks, the availability of radio *SPECT*RUM*, and how public and private investment in networks can be encouraged.

On that first point, the EC has set out a common regulatory approach for access to new high-speed fibre networks. These networks, said the EC, require national telecoms regulators to ensure an appropriate balance between the needs to encourage investment and to safeguard competition. The approach, it said, would provide increased regulatory clarity to all market players, which is necessary to stimulate investment in fast and ultra-fast broadband.

French communications regulator ARCEP agreed, welcoming the announcement. In a statement it said, "The text adopted by the European Commission plans for a regulatory framework for newly deployed networks that achieves a balance between encouraging operators to make sizeable investments in their rollouts, and guaranteeing open and non-discriminatory access to competing operators.

"This European Commission recommendation helps to clarify the new regulatory framework that will govern fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) rollouts, and so provides operators with the predictability and legal certainty they need to be able to make their investment decisions."

In terms of **SPECT*RUM*,, the EC has asked for a decision by the European Parliament and Council to establish a five year policy programme to promote efficient radio *SPECT*RUM*,* management. In particular, it wants to ensure that sufficient **SPECT*RUM*, is made available by 2013 for wireless broadband, which it said would significantly contribute to bringing fast broadband connections to people in remote areas and to make innovative services available across Europe.

And finally it set out a framework for meeting the Digital Agenda's broadband targets and, in particular, outlined how best to encourage public and private investment in fast and ultra-fast broadband networks. Those targets are to ensure basic broadband coverage for all EU citizens by 2013, with at 30 Megabits per second available to all by 2020. By this point it wants at least half European households subscribing to broadband access at 100 Megabits per second.

To achieve this, the EC has called on Member States to introduce operational broadband plans for high and ultra high speed networks with concrete implementation measures. It has provided guidance on how to cut investment costs and how public authorities can support broadband investment, which includes making better use EU funds. It also announced plans by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank to bring forward broadband finance instruments.

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda said, "Fast broadband is digital oxygen, essential for Europe's prosperity and well-being. These measures will help to ensure that Europeans get the first-class Internet they expect and deserve, so that they can access the content and services they want. "

According to the EC, Europe as a region currently has the highest average levels of broadband take-up worldwide (24.8%) but its networks need to be further developed and upgraded as only 1% of Europeans have a high-speed fibre internet connection directly to their homes, compared to 12% of Japanese and 15% of South Koreans.

With all of this high speed fibre to be put in place in the next 10 years, and universal Internet access to be guaranteed, effective net governance is becoming increasingly important. So important, says the Council of Europe, that we now need a global Internet Treaty to enshrine into law the principles of open standards, net neutrality and freedom of expression, which has the ultimate aim of protecting the net from political interference. Good luck.

The idea was presented last week at this year's Internet Governance Forum in Vilnius, Lithuania, and was compared to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. That, among other things, says that the exploration of outer space shall be done to benefit all countries and shall be free for exploration and use by all States - and no moon weapons.

The Council said that governments were threatening the internet with fragmentation by bringing it under political control, and that "openness and interoperability" and "network neutrality" would be two of 12 Principles of Internet Governance included in the treaty.

Arguably the problem with this will be that the cat is pretty much already out of the bag. It's fine talking about theoretical possibilities of moon bases and space weapons, but many governments are currently seeing the 'benefits' of controlling the Internet, and are unlikely to relinquish this power easily. It's certainly worth a shot, though, and it will be interesting to see how far the idea goes, and who is actually willing to sign up to it.

30-09-2010, 10:10
MTV Networks International to significantly expand high definition offering with new channels & programming

MTV Networks International has announced plans to significantly expand the company's high definition services across brands through next year with the launch of new channels and programming.

The announcement underscores MTVNI's commitment to providing audiences and cable/satellite operators with premium content and innovative entertainment experiences.

As part of the initiative, Nickelodeon HD will launch as a 24-hour channel in the UK on Sky starting 5th October. This follows the successful UK launch of Comedy Central HD earlier this summer. MTVNI will invest in additional high definition services with the introduction of an international Nickelodeon HD channel in 2011 in markets such as Poland, Russia, Israel and Brazil.

With the launch of Nickelodeon HD next month, the company's first international high definition service MTVNHD, will no longer broadcast a weekend block of Nick programming and will focus exclusively on music-related content. MTVNHD will continue to expand distribution and is expected to be available in 30 countries across four continents by the end of this year. The 24-hour service, which debuted in 2008, is currently available in more than 7 million households with recent launches in Bulgaria and Malta. MTVNHD will expand its library of diverse music programming to more than 1,000 hours by end of 2011, including original and acquired live performances, documentaries and world-class events. Additional carriage deals and programming announcements for MTVNHD will be made in the coming months. For more information, visit http://www.mtvnhd.com (http://www.sat-universe.com/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mtvnhd.com).

"With the successful launch and expansion of MTVNHD in less than two years, we are committed to further investment in the high definition medium across our industry leading brands," commented Bob Bakish, President of MTVNI. "These new HD services will create stronger bonds with our kid, youth and adult audiences, as well as provide innovative new products to cable and satellite operators as demand continues to grow. HD will help fuel our long-term creative and business growth as we continue to leverage our global scale and expertise to develop, package and deliver quality content across all platforms."

Mike Darcey, Sky's Chief Operating Officer, comments: "We're delighted to announce the addition of Nickelodeon HD to Sky+HD, the UK's leading high definition service. Sky remains committed to delivering customers the best HD service available, and this means continuing to work with high-quality content partners to launch outstanding channels right across the schedule. With the best of free and pay TV now in HD, there's never been a better time to embrace HD."

Nickelodeon puts kids first in everything it does. The network, which is seen more than 345 million households via 52 channels in 111 countries, showcases a broad array of critically acclaimed animated and live action shows for kids and families. Popular animated series to be seen in HD include Fanboy & Chum Chum and The Penguins of Madagascar. Live action shows in HD include the sitcoms iCarly and Victorious, along with the musical comedy Big Time Rush and action comedy The Troop, among others. The company has built a diverse, multi-platform business that also includes consumer products, online, events, recreation and feature films.

In the UK, Nickelodeon is a joint venture between MTV Networks and BSkyB. Launched in 1993, it is a top performing commercial kids TV network comprised of seven award-winning entertainment channels for kids aged 2-12: Nickelodeon, Nickelodeon HD, NickToons, NickToons Replay, Nick Jr, Nick Jr 2 and Nick Replay. The Nickelodeon network now reaches more than 10 million UK viewers a month and is available in 12.7 million cable and satellite homes. Nickelodeon HD in the UK will be produced and broadcasted by the company's local operation and will be available to all Sky HD customers that currently take the Kids pack as part of their SD subscription package. Additional carriage deals will be announced in the future.

MTVNHD features a diverse array of high quality music videos across numerous genres, along with original and acquired long-form programming. The channel offers weekly link and clip shows, such as MTV Top 20, Uncompressed and Music Alphabet. MTVNHD also showcases the best of MTV and VH1 performance and music documentary series, such as MTV Unplugged, VH1 Storytellers and Life & Rhymes. Premier events such as the MTV Video Music Awards, the MTV Europe Music Awards and VH1 Divas are featured on-air alongside specials from music festivals such as Isle of MTV, Rock Am Ring, Roskilde and Benicassim. Live performances feature music's hottest acts, such as Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Kings of Leon, Muse, Lily Allen, The Killers, Kanye West and others.

MTVNHD is operated by MTVNI's Emerging Markets Group, which produces and broadcasts the channel 24 hours a day from its Warsaw hub. The group will also oversee the launch of the international Nickelodeon HD channel starting next year. Drawing on the company's global talent pool, HD programming is also produced by MTV Networks' creative teams in South Europe, Latin America, the UK and US.

VH1 HD is also available in cable and satellite households in Brazil. The channel features music videos and long-form programming such as Storytellers, VH1 Live and Soul Stage.

30-09-2010, 10:11
Blockbuster reaches agreement on plan to recapitalize balance sheet and substantially reduce its indebtedness

Blockbuster, a leading global provider of rental and retail movie and game entertainment, has announced that it has reached agreement with a group of bondholders holding approximately 80.1 percent principal amount of the Company's 11 3/4 percent senior secured notes (the "Senior Noteholders") on the material terms of a plan to recapitalize its balance sheet and put the Company in a stronger financial position as it continues to pursue its strategic plan and transform its business model.

The recapitalization plan would substantially reduce the Company's indebtedness -- from nearly $1 billion currently to an estimated $100 million or less when implemented.

To implement this "pre-arranged" recapitalization, the Company and its domestic subsidiaries have filed voluntary Chapter 11 petitions with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Blockbuster's non-U.S. operations and its domestic and international franchisees, all of which are legally separate entities, were not included in the filings and are not parties to the Chapter 11 proceedings.

All of Blockbuster's U.S. operations, including its stores, DVD vending kiosks, by-mail and digital businesses, are open and serving customers in the normal course. Blockbuster is fulfilling all orders as usual, including continuing to provide access to new releases the first day they become available. Blockbuster intends to continue honoring its Rewards program, valid coupons, gift cards and other customer programs.

Blockbuster franchise locations in both the U.S. and abroad are independently owned, operated and funded, and are also continuing normal business operations. In addition, BLOCKBUSTER Express vending kiosks, owned and operated through a relationship with NCR, continue their operations in retail locations around the U.S. The Company's international operations in Canada, Denmark, Italy, Mexico, and the United Kingdom are also conducting business as usual. However, Blockbuster will no longer provide funding to support its operations in Argentina, which have experienced continued shortfalls in operating cash flow.

Jim Keyes, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "After a careful and thorough analysis, we determined that the process announced today provides the optimal path for recapitalizing our balance sheet and positioning Blockbuster for the future as we continue to transform our business model to meet the evolving preferences of our customers. The recapitalized Blockbuster will move forward better able to leverage its strong strategic position, including a well-established brand name, an exceptional library of more than 125,000 titles, and our position as the only operator that provides access across multiple delivery channels – stores, kiosks, by-mail and digital. This variety of delivery channels provides unrivaled convenience, service, and value for our customers."

The Company has secured a commitment of $125 million in new "debtor-in-possession" (DIP) financing from the Senior Noteholders to help meet its obligations to customers, suppliers and employees in the ordinary course during the recapitalization process.

As part of the recapitalization process, the Company will evaluate its U.S. store portfolio with a view towards enhancing the overall profitability of its store operations. Currently, all 3,000 of the Company's stores in the U.S. will remain open.

Under the terms of the proposed plan of reorganization, the Company's 11 3/4 percent senior secured notes will be exchanged for the equity of a reorganized Blockbuster. The only debt expected to remain on the Company's balance sheet upon its emergence from Chapter 11 under the proposed plan will be the amounts drawn under Blockbuster's $125 million DIP financing, which will convert to an exit loan facility upon consummation of the plan, and a new exit revolving credit facility of up to $50 million. Under the proposed plan, there would be no recovery by the holders of the Company's outstanding subordinated debt, preferred stock or common stock.

Keyes said, "We are pleased to enter this process with the support of the Senior Noteholders. Their willingness to provide the DIP financing and to support a plan to eliminate a substantial amount of the Company's debt in exchange for new equity is an important vote of confidence in Blockbuster."

30-09-2010, 10:12
Get set for the tablet revolution

AKQA executive creative development director Andy Hood argues that tablet computers will be instrumental in transforming TV consumption.

Apple's iPad crashed into our lives earlier this year and began to turn the digital world upside down. As a beautifully styled device, it offered consumers a new and hugely engaging way to interact with content, applications and the web. Those of us who deliver such content, however, were left trying to determine how consumers would actually use the device. One immediately obvious thing is how easy it is to use the iPad for just casually browsing the web, checking your email, etc. It's far more comfortable to crash on the sofa with an iPad than with a laptop, and a far superior experience to surfing on a phone.

The other device generally switched on during such couch-surfing is the television, and it should probably come as no surprise that a major trend is for TV viewers to be increasingly engaged with something else on another device at the same time. Known as 'dual-screening,' this can encompass browsing websites, shopping, chatting with friends on Instant Messenger or spending time on Facebook. US figures from In-Stat suggest that more than 66 million people were using a PC and watching TV simultaneously last year. Devices such as the iPad will only escalate this trend. And the forthcoming avalanche of lower-cost Android tablets from the likes of Samsung, HTC and Toshiba will enable people for whom an iPad would be a luxury purchase, if affordable at all, to enter the world of the tablet device and such 'casual computing.'

The Holy Grail is, of course, a situation where the online activity viewers are engaged in is directly related to the television programme they are watching. The BBC did this particularly well with its game for The Apprentice - viewers could predict who would be fired and change their choice as the episode progressed. Better still if the digital activity can affect the broadcast itself in some way. Even if all they are doing is using Facebook or Twitter, much of that conversation relates to the programme viewers are watching at the time. They are no longer mere 'viewers,' they have become active participants.

Recently, of course, Apple relaunched Apple TV and Google TV was demonstrated at the IFA consumer electronics fair in Germany. How do these platforms affect online and TV consumption of programming? Well, it's early days yet, but we ought to be looking forward to content being easily transferable from device to device, enabling it to be watched and experienced within the viewer's location. For example, a TV episode can be watched on the train via a tablet or smartphone, and then seamlessly continued on the TV in the home at the end of the journey. TV is becoming an integrated part of the general consumption of media, rather than a distinct and separate experience - and smartphone and tablet content is at the heart of this transformation.

So how is all this content produced? Well, with the focus so much on the iPad, developers create applications using Apple's ObjC language (up to now, pretty much the only solution worth pursuing). With Android ownership already catching up fast and set to gather further market share with the forthcoming tablet releases, however, it is an audience that simply cannot be ignored. We are also set for the imminent launch of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, adding to the market fragmentation. Android apps are developed in Java and Windows Phone 7 apps in Silverlight. We face a situation where apps need to be developed several times, dramatically increasing the cost of development. Or do we?

One thing Apple has done is to rapidly escalate the proliferation of HTML5 skills with its banishment of Flash. As it happens, apps can be developed using HTML and JavaScript - they run in the browser of the phone or tablet device, but are indistinguishable from apps written natively (in ObjC for iPhone and iPad, or Java for Android). Web apps, as they are known, have their icons on the homescreen and are purchased from the app store/marketplace just as native apps are. Web apps cannot access device features such as photo library, contacts and device motion, but for the most part it is possible to develop apps that can run perfectly well on the different platforms, with a few alterations.

A recent survey shows that most people believe they will be watching all TV via the internet or digital TV recorder within five years. And they will be doing that using smartphones, tablets, internet-ready TVs, laptops and products such as Boxee, Plex and both Apple and Google TV. We need to be able to deliver our content to all of these devices with minimal redevelopment, and we need to enable each of them to work together in an integrated way, not as separate experiences.

With such integration across different devices and media, television programming itself will need to adapt. We should not be left wondering how we are going to keep enabling arbitrary digital interaction with existing programming formats - we should be creating new formats fully integrated with different platforms and channels for a new audience of active participants.

30-09-2010, 10:12
New Apple TV 'won't revolutionise TV'

AppleScreen DigestDigital TVThe recently relaunched Apple TV "inherits many of the problems of its predecessor" and will not revolutionise television, a media intelligence consultancy has claimed.

Earlier this month, Apple unveiled a revamped version of Apple TV featuring a slimmed-down design and enhanced streaming capability.

Available at the reduced price of £99, the box can directly stream premium TV shows and movies via iTunes, as well as access content from YouTube, Netflix and other online services.

Screen Digest believes that Apple TV's new emphasis on streaming and its reduced price point fails to hide the fact that the product "inherits many of the problems of its predecessor".

According to a joint analyst comment produced by Screen Digest's Dan Cryan and Tania Loeffler, Apple TV should be better viewed as an "iTunes Store for the television, rather than the iPod (or even iPad) for the TV".

The experts further believe that the revamped Apple TV "may well struggle to attract an audience beyond the Apple faithful", just like its predecessor.

"Some of its streaming features even fall short of the similarly priced Roku, a standalone internet-connect device which offers access to many more streaming services than the new Apple TV, and which failed to capture the imagination of the mass market consumer," said Cryan and Loeffler.

"The cardinal rule being that internet-connectivity and streaming video services is still viewed by consumers as an additional feature of set top devices, rather than a reason to spend money on a specific piece of hardware."

The group said that Apple TV lacks a "significant point of differentiation" when compared to the functionality already being built into TV sets, Blu-ray players and games consoles.

Cryan and Loeffler believe that Apple will only make a splash in the TV industry if it launches an App Store for the television, just as it did so successfully for mobile devices.

However, the relaunched Apple TV's focus on streaming over storage could well put paid to that solution under the current generation of technology.

"The streaming-focused nature of the new Apple TV brings with it a marked reduction in on-board storage which means that local apps may not be viable on the device. In addition the bundled remote with its minimal button lay out is not well suited for apps that require rich and/or rapid interactions (e.g. games)," said Cryan and Loeffler.

"More generally, there are issues that are yet to be resolved revolving around the optimum user interface (UI) for applications (other than games) on the TV set which, with its '10 ft' viewing experience, is likely to require a new paradigm that evolves beyond the PC and the more direct UI of touch-based tablets and portables.

"Apple has a great track record of UI development and Screen Digest would not be surprised if it turns out to be the company that solves these issues in future but this is not the generation to do it."

30-09-2010, 10:13
Spotlight on cable

The autumn cable conference season is about to get under way in Central and Eastern Europe, with major events taking place in Hungary, Poland and Romania over the next few weeks.
Coincidentally, this year’s CTAM EuroSummit cable marketing conference is also taking place in the region, the two-day event starting today (September 23) in Budapest. While not focused on Central and Eastern Europe, the issues being discussed are certainly relevant to its cable industry.

Take 3D, for instance. Cable operators across CEE have already taken enthusiastically to HD and in several instances are offering their subscribers a large number of channels in the format. It can therefore be expected that in due course they will also aim to do so with 3D.

However, there are already problems on the horizon, with one of Europe’s leading operators (Portugal’s ZON) reporting that Hollywood majors and sports rights holders are trying to secure additional revenues from 3D. This may only be a temporary state of affairs, though it is undoubtedly a potential obstacle to the rollout of channels in the format.

Despite the international flavour of the CTAM EuroSummit, there was some ‘local’ input into the conference provided by Marcin Boroszko, the president of the board at the At Media Group. A leading broker of thematic channels and ad sales on thematic channels in Poland, it has addressed the dominance of terrestrial channels in the country’s TV market by creating an offer ‘selling’ cable and DTH channels to prospective advertisers. Known as At Max, its main goal is to “build the thematic channels (pay-TV) category on the ad market as an effective alterative to terrestrial channels”, with the main target being medium sized TV advertisers, followed by media agencies.

Other issues discussed on the first day included social media as a source for customer care and the importance of value added services such as VoIP, internet security and online gaming to reduce churn.

All are of as much relevance to cable in CEE as to the wider cable industry.

30-09-2010, 10:14
Ramadan TV ad spend up 4%

There was good news for the region’s broadcasters today, with figures from the Pan Arab Research Centre (PARC) revealing a four percent increase on last year’s Ramadan advertising spend in the UAE, with TV revenues across the pan-Arab region up by an average of 42 per cent over the period.

This flew in the face of the general trend, which saw total ad spend in the UAE down to $110 million (Dh403 million), down from the $117 million spent on media during Ramadan 2009. Newspapers were worst hit with a ten percent drop in revenue.
Shaharyar Umar, Product Manager at PARC in Dubai, said the slight decline in this year’s Ramadan ad spend in the UAE suggested the market was still recovering.

“It is challenging right now but is likely to recover,” he told Gulf News. “When it will fully recover, we will have to wait and watch.”
“The spend on pan-Arab media constitutes around 77 per cent of the total TV spend in the region as advertisers focused on reaching multiple markets rather than targeting specific areas through local channels,” Umar said.
“The region’s spending on television during Ramadan alone crossed $1.8 billion.”

Umar said the top five most advertised programmes in the region, Sheekh Al Arab Al Hamam, Aayza Atjawaz, Zohra Wa Azwagha Al Khamsa, Bab Al Harah 5 and Al Aaar, each raked in more than $50 million in advertising.

The top five most advertised programmes across UAE local channels for the month were Shaabeyat Cartoon 5, Al Ghafa, Ma Asaab Al Kalam, Al Shara and Lamasat Nafseya.

30-09-2010, 10:15
New channel for UAE Indians

Dubai Arab Digital Distribution (ADD), the regional provider of pay TV, interactive and digital services, has signed a deal with Viacom 18 Media to bring a new Indian-based channel, Colors, to the Middle East and North Africa region.

Abdul Gani H. Ali, Chief Financial Officer of the Arab Media Corporation (AMC), ADD’s parent company, commented: “Competition is very tough worldwide and in this part of the world. We are strengthening our positions and we are trying to retain our existing subscribers and attract new subscribers as well.”

30-09-2010, 10:16
Slingbox gets Freeview tuner and goes HD

Sling Media, the company behind the ingenious Slingbox, has launched the PRO-HD version. Designed to stream AV content from your home to a laptop or mobile anywhere in the world, Slingbox is popular with travellers, but has also found favour with home networking fans.

Costing £250, the SlingBox Pro HD can support over-the-air DVBT digital signals, HDTV cable or satellite receivers, HD PVRs, and a wide variety of other devices. What it doesn't do is record anything; it acts purely as a streaming device between your media storage and a computer, or with the SlingCatcher add-on, to a mobile device.
Eventually Sling Media aims to have the technology built into a range of set-top boxes and TVs from an assortment of manufacturers. Meanwhile, also launched was SlingBox.com, an online version of the SlingBox software client, so you can stream your TV to any computer without having to download any software.

By offering multiple looping inputs and outputs, Sling Box aims to be compatible with most household equipment; but one notable omission is an HDMI connector.

Look out for a full review of SlingBox Pro HD in HCC soon;

30-09-2010, 10:24
Blu-ray has its value, regardless of what Microsoft says

So, UK Xbox boss Stephen McGill wonders 'Who needs Blu-ray?' when Full HD digital downloads are available. I immediately think, 'Well, me, for a start'.

In an interview with Xbox Achievements, McGill made the statement: 'We offer Full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality streaming instantly, no download, no delay. So, who needs Blu-ray?' But that argument works the other way: Blu-ray offers Full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality, instantly, no download, no delay. So, who needs downloads?

Well obviously there are people who need downloads. Lots of AV-hedz download films and television material to watch on their TV because its quick. Some of them, apparently, even do it legally, paying actual money to do so. It also saves shelf space.

But on the other hand, just because this way of devouring video content exists, doesn't mean that Blu-ray is dead and pointless.

Firstly, there's the lossless audio issue. Home cinema owners like lossless audio. It sounds great. Once you've heard it, you don't want to go back to lossy. But streaming services like Xbox Zune don't offer lossess audio, because they assume their users don't want it. Why? Because the service is entirely about convenience, not quality, despite what McGill may claim.

Secondly, there's the practical issue. As my colleague Marc Chacksfield on TechRadar, points out: 'Full HD 1080p quality streaming available to all in the UK is still something of a pipe dream, regardless of what McGill says – and won't be a reality until our broadband infrastructure is given a much needed kick-start.'

In fact, in terms of convenience, for most people it's still more practical to buy a Blu-ray player to hookup to their HDTV.

Thirdly, there's the fact that a lot of people like to actually own a physical copy of things they buy. Take a look at any AV-Holic featured in HCC, and you'll see a massive shelf of discs, often lovingly arranged in alphabetical or thematic order.

And, finally, there's the Blu-ray experience itself. While the format was initially slow to make use of its interactive capabilities, studios now are fully exploiting everything Blu-ray has to offer. Just take at look at the Mother Mode in the new Alien Anthology Blu-ray box set for proof.

McGill, of course, works for Microsoft, the company that has continually eschewed putting a BD drive in its Xbox console, so he has an ulterior motive for what he says. I wouldn't expect him to come out and say anything else, actually. Maybe he'd have a different opinion if the Microsoft-backed HD DVD format had won the format war...

30-09-2010, 10:25
'Voice of boxing' Harry Carpenter died after falling down the stairs and suffering 'catastrophic head injury'

Harry Carpenter, the BBC's legendary boxing commentator, died after falling down stairs and suffering a 'catastrophic head' injury, his inquest was told today.
He was the voice of the BBC's boxing coverage for nearly 50 years, becoming the subject of Frank Bruno's 'Know what I mean, 'arry?' catchprase in the 1980s.
It emerged today he suffered an acute heart attack just before falling at his home in Sydenham, South-East London.
He suffered a 5in fracture to the skull and a severe brain haemorrhage. The 84-year-old was found lying on his back at the bottom of the stairs by his granddaughter Aurelie, who lived with him and his wife Phylis.

An inquest has ruled that veteran boxing commentator Harry Carpenter died as a result of 'catastrophic head injuries' from a fall at his home

Frank Bruno and Carpenter pretend to fight at the opening of a sports store in 1987 in Oxford Street. He was the voice of the BBC's boxing coverage for nearly 50 years, becoming the subject of Bruno's 'Know what I mean, 'arry?' catchprase in the 1980s
He was taken to Kings College hospital to be treated but died three days later.
The inquest heard Mr Carpenter, famous for his close relationships with heavyweights Mohammad Ali and Frank Bruno, already had heart problems after suffering a minor heart attack in the summer of 2009 and had recently undergone bypass surgery.
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His son Clive, who lives in France, told how his father had been hospitalised for eight days over Christmas last year due to further complications following his operation, but said he seemed to be feeling better.
But after a routine hospital check-up on March 17 this year he took a nap after feeling unwell and then fell down the stairs.

Old hand: Harry Carpenter interviews golf legend Jack Nicklaus after he triumphed in the 1978 British Open championship

Lennox Lewis stands alongside Harry when he awarded Muhammad Ali with the BBC's Sports Personality of the Century in 1999
Mr Carpenter's granddaughter Aurelie, said: 'He wasn't feeling well that day. I took him to the hospital for a check-up but he had trouble walking and had to take things really slow but he seemed to be fine after that.
'I picked him up later but by the time he got back to the house he was having difficulties getting out the car and couldn't quite walk properly.
'He said he felt unwell and he decided to go to bed for a bit.'

About half an hour later she said she heard him get up and start walking down the stairs.
She continued: 'Then I heard this noise. I went to him immediately and realised he had fallen. He was lying at the bottom of the stairs and was completely unconscious.

'He was still unconscious until just before the paramedics came. He tried to get up but I don't think he was quite aware of what he was doing. He didn't seem himself. He didn't even recognise me. He was behaving like he was in a nightmare. He seemed agitated and distressed.'
Paramedic Karen Carr, who arrived on the scene at 12.41pm, described the patient as 'combative' and said he would not remain still and kept trying to remove equipment as she tried to treat him.
Southwark Coroners Court heard Mr Carpenter was taken to Kings College Hospital where scans that revealed he had suffered a severe brain haemorrhage.
The inquest heard he could not be operated on because of his heart condition and the fact he had been on Warfarin, a blood thinning medication which could have made the bleed worse.
Top of his game: Harry Carpenter with the then world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in 1989
Dr Greg Fellows, a specialist registrar at Kings College Hospital, said Mr Carpenter was later transferred to the high dependency unit.
The next day he began having difficulty breathing and it was felt he was not suitable for surgery.
He said: 'On the 20th of March I had a long chat with the family as it became clearer that despite our best efforts the patient's condition was deteriorating and he sadly passed away.'

A post-mortem examination revealed Mr Carpenter died from an extensive head injury caused by the bang on his head that left him with a 5in (13cm) fracture on his skull.
He also had a fractured rib, two black eyes and a cut to his shin.
Recording a verdict of accidental death Coroner Dr Adela Williams said it was the 'catastrophic head injury' that caused Mr Carpenter's death rather than the heart attack he suffered beforehand.
She said: 'On March 17 Mr Carpenter returned home after a visit to the hospital for a check up.
'When he returned home he felt quite seriously unwell and he decided to go to bed. He got up after half an hour. He was heard to fall down the stairs where he sustained a catastrophic head injury.
'What we have is a non-fatal heart attack but it was the result of the fall down the stairs that resulted in Mr Carpenter's death.'
Mr Carpenter was the BBC's voice-of-boxing for almost half a century after joining the broadcaster in 1949.
He commentated on thousands of professional and amateur boxing matches, his most famous being the 1974 'Rumble in the Jungle' clash between heavy weight George Foreman and Mohammed Ali.
He was a personal favourite of British champion Frank Bruno whose catchphrase 'Know what I mean, Arry?' was featured in many of his post-fight interviews.
Mr Carpenter, who was made an OBE in 1991, also hosted sporting events such as Wimbledon, the Boat Race and almost all boxing fights in the Olympics between 1956 and 1992.
He was also a presenter on Sportsnight and Grandstand and had the privilege of awarding Muhammad Ali with the BBC's Sports Personality of the Century in 1999.
George Foreman pins Muhammad Ali on the ropes during the 'Rumble in the Jungle' held in Zaire, present-day Congo. Harry Carpenter was on air for the bout which was sensationally won by Ali

30-09-2010, 10:27
Cablecos guarded against OTT as channels do their own thing

CTAM EUROSUMMIT ’10 – BUDAPEST. Europe’s cable CEOs are confident they can fend off the challenge from over-the-top TV companies such as Google TV and Apple TV.

Johan Flykt, CEO, of the Finnish Welho network said that while the larger players might enjoy some success they lacked a vital presence in the local market. “What we see is a rush to over-the-top because the players did not have access to the customers before and now they do. The business model is not sustainable.”

“The consumer has an insatiable demand for content and we as operators serve them very well,” offered Eric Tveter, CEO, Cablecom. “Clearly OTT raises a level of concern but I don’t see it as a major threat,” He said it was more important for the Swiss operator to better serve people in their homes.

However, Eddie Nelson, managing director Sony Pictures Television (SPT) Networks Central Europe, which offers viewers its own catch-up service of recent shows suggested it was only going over-the-top because the cablecos did not always have the infrastructure in place.

“We have 1,600 operators and of those there’s less than five that can do VOD or SVOD. I’m having to work with my viewers. I’m spending lots of money buying content, but with a show like Damages, where if you miss one or two episodes you have to buy the boxed set”. Nelson added that the programme platform, that counts the AXN channels in its portfolio, did not discriminate and would make content available to its operators for their own VOD services.

“We have to respond to that ourselves and what we’re trying to do is to expand the link we have with the customer, by making sure that they can see the content in every room,” said Tomas Franzen, CEO, Com Hem. He added that while there were no immediate plans to introduce the TV Everywhere concept into the Swedish market it was something that was being considered.

30-09-2010, 10:28
Fries welcomes other MSOs to Horizon project

CTAM EUROSUMMT ’10 – BUDAPEST. Liberty Global President and CEO Mike Fries has said the operator is in talks with over a dozen operators that each want to replicate the multimedia home gateway, known as the Horizon Project, on their own networks. “We are in discussion with multiple operators to come on board,” said Fries. “We are not competitors and this is a great opportunity to fall in line and benefit. You can’t have 14 operators each developing their own solutions. I am sure Intel and Samsung will love it.”

Speaking before a packed room, Fries told the audience to expect the first working boxes by next summer. “As an industry we can no longer rely on traditional programme guide, the grid, that is not going the work. We need to go forward and develop a more powerful tool and use a more elegant approach. Until now, we have simple decoders, not powerful devices. Our new boxes will have the smarts.” Although he described Project Canvas as being peculiar to the UK market, representing the best and worst, Horizon will also allow apps onto the platform, Fries arguing that there would be no need for customers to take apps from their connected TVs when they were right there on the cable platform.

Regarding the on demand services, Fries said content owners should provide content for VOD for free, “We already pay them for linear distribution and we we like to get VOD for free. In the US, 95% of all on demand traffic is free. This is more a must have app rather than a business model.”

Questioned about the loss of subscribers in certain UPC territories, Fries said there are different reasons in each country. “In The Netherlands, KPN acts as a low price provider. They have 1 million customers, who receive just 23 channels. It is cheap and cheerful. In Romania we have competition from a four-year old satellite product that has no future, it targets low-end customers selling a product below marginal costs.”

“But we’ll come back out at them . If people want to see a football game in HD or 3D, or want to have access to catch up TV”.

30-09-2010, 10:29
Discovery announces new management structure

Discovery Networks International has announced a new senior management structure for its operations in Europe, Middle East & Africa.

The new structure organises the European operation geographically into two businesses which cluster those markets in similar stages of development.

The Western Europe operation covers 16 markets including the UK, Germany, Southern Europe, Nordic and Benelux and is led by Dee Forbes, EVP, Discovery Networks UK & Western Europe. In the region Discovery broadcasts more than 17 channel brands, including Discovery Channel, Quest, Animal Planet, Science and TLC. It will continue to be run from the London headquarters and has regional offices in Italy, Spain, Benelux, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

The senior management team for Western Europe has been named as:

Susanna Dinnage – General Manager, UK
Jan Andreassen – General Manager, Nordics
Jochem De Jong – General Manager, Benelux
Magnus Kastner – General Manager, Germany
Marinella Soldi – General Manager, Southern Europe
Dan Korn – SVP, Head of Programming
Simon Downing – VP, Head of Marketing Communications
Fulvia Nicoli – SVP, Head of Research & Insight
Chris Shaw – SVP, Ad-sales
Caleb Weinstein – SVP, Head of Distribution
Sarah Farley – Director, Corporate Communications

The Eastern Europe operation is responsible for ten brands in 99 markets, including Poland, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Russia, Middle East and Africa. The business is led by Kasia Kieli, EVP, Discovery Networks Eastern Europe and will have corporate centres in Warsaw and London, alongside local offices in Russia, Romania, Hungary and Czech Republic.

The senior management team for Eastern Europe has been named as:

Phillip Luff – Acting GM, Central Europe
Paul Welling – Head of Channels
Fulvia Nicoli – SVP, Head of Research & Insight
Chris Shaw – SVP, Ad-sales
Caleb Weinstein – SVP, Head of Distribution & Acting GM Emerging Markets
Jon Bennett – Director, Corporate Communications

30-09-2010, 10:31
More sport for Beeline TV

Russia’s VimpelCom has added a new channel named Sport 1 HD to the line-up of its IPTV service Beeline TV.

Sport 1 HD offers viewers coverage of the English Premier League and FA Cup and will shortly add more sports events to its schedule.

Earlier this week it was announced that Beeline TV, which has until now been available in Moscow and St Petersburg, has extended its coverage to the cities of Voronezh, Tula and Krasnodar.

30-09-2010, 10:31
Poland confronts mobile TV roadblock

The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has initiated proceedings against the country’s four mobile companies – Era, Plus, Orange and Play – for hampering the launch of mobile TV in the country.

According to Rzeczpospolita, they face the prospect of being each find up to 10% of their revenues for last year. In practice, this could amount to a combined total of up to PLN2.5 billion (€629.8 million).

The licence to operate a mobile TV service was won in March 2009 by Info TV-FM, a company backed by the investment fund NFI Magna Polonia. In doing so, it beat off a rival bid from a consortium known as Mobile TV and made up of the four mobile companies, which are operated by PTC (Era), Polkomtel (Plus), PTK Centertel (Orange) and P4 (Play).

As a result of the unwillingness of the four mobile companies to co-operate with Info TV-FM, the latter has so far been unable to launch a full commercial service.

30-09-2010, 10:32
Cable leaders call on channels to avoid OTT temptations
Cable industry leaders at the CTAM EuroSummit in Budapest called on content providers not to damage their relationship with service providers by adopting an over-the-top distribution model today.

Speaking on a CEO panel at the event, Thomas Franzen, CEO of Swedish operator Com Hem, said that cable operators “have a business that works well”. He said he found it “annoying” that Com Hem sometimes found itself charging subscribers for content that is freely accessible on the web. He added, however, that operators had to respond to the demand of viewers to have access to content at times that were favourable to them on multiple devices. “We also have to respond to that ourselves – we are working on extending the relationship with the customer.

Johan Flykt, CEO of Finland’s Welho, said that he saw some evidence of a “rush to OTT” by content providers. “It’s to do with the fact that players have not had direct access to end consumers before, but that business model is not sustainable in my view,” said Flykt.

Responding, Eddie Nelson, managing director of Sony Pictures Television Central Europe, said that content providers felt they had to respond to market demand to view their content where on-demand platforms were not developed by service providers. “We have a website that shows some of our content,” he said. “I operate in central Europe which is a bit different. We have 1,600 operators. Of those, in every single country, about one to five is involved in VOD or SVOD. The others can’t address [that demand].” He said Sony made catch-up content available on its website but pointed out that it was also open to operators to deliver that content too.

Levente Malnay, general manager of channel provider Chello Central Europe, said that content providers should o give up a be cautious about disrupting existing relationships. “Every single programmer is looking into new opportunities, but we are not so crazy as to give up a business model that works well with relationships and understanding of how to drive value.”

30-09-2010, 10:34
3D: active glasses will be necessary for foreseeable future, says Samsung

TV manufacturer Samsung intends to progressively make all of the LED, LCD and PDP TV sets it makes 3D-capable going forward, starting with higher-end screens this year, followed by a number of less expensive models from 2011. However, expensive active glasses will be a requirement for some time to come.

Samsung’s Vassilis Seferidis, director of European business development, told the CTAM EuroSummit in Budapest that he expected two million 3D TV sets to be sold in Europe this year out of a total of 13 million sets sold. He said Samsung saw 3D sets as part of an eco-system of devices including Blu-ray players and home cinema systems that would drive the market forwards.

TV manufacturers saw 3D as a way of driving the next replacement cycle, following the boom in HD-capable sets in 2007-08 and its subsequent tailing off.

Seferidis said however that expensive active 3D glasses would be required for some time to come, ahead of future developments in autostereoscopic technology. He said the cost of glasses would in most cases be bundled by manufacturers with the sale of a TV. “At IFA we saw autostereoscopic displays, but the technology is at a very early stage. For the business models for the next five or even 10 years autostereoscopic will not play a big role,” he said.

However, the emergence next year of standards for active glasses would enable manufacturers to market device-independent glasses, he added. “for next year we will have glasses that are standardized [so they can be used] with other manufacturers’ TVs,” said Seferidis. “That will give people the ability to design their own glasses. You could also combine prescription glasses with active glasses technology.”

Seferidis said that he did not expect cheaper passive glasses to gain much traction, because they required more expensive TV panels as a substitute. “Passive glasses are a transitional technology,” he said.

Speaking on the same panel at the CTAM EuroSummit, Benny Salaets, vice-president of product marketing for TV at Belgian cable operator Telenet, said that he expected multi-player games to drive 3D adoption in the wider non-theatrical market. Telenet launched a 3D demo channel earlier this year, followed by 3D video-on-demand in May, but take-up has been minimal to date. Movie trailers had proved more popular, however, with a conversion rate to buying the VOD title of less than 3%, suggesting that many trailers were being viewed out of curiosity by people that did not own a 3D-capable TV set.

“What will really drive 3D for a big part of the business will be games,” said Salaets. “Consumers are looking for that immersive experience. I’m curious about what the games producers will come up with in the next year.”

Despite lack of progress to date, Salaets said he nevertheless expected the adoption curve for 3D to be faster than for HD. “It will take time but less time than HD,” he said.

One factor that might delay progress is the cost of production, according to John Vonk, vice-president of video products at US cableco Comcast, also speaking on the CTAM panel. While conversion from SD to HD had required content producers to invest in new equipment, producing live 3D events meant doubling the amount of equipment and people deployed. “You need a [specialist] 3D sports production team on the football field to shoot it side-by-side [with the HD production team] so it’s double the production cost,” he said.

30-09-2010, 10:36
Germany’s Channel 21 sold

German shopping channel Channel 21 has been acquired by investment firm Aurelius for an undisclosed fee, understood to be in double-digit millions of Euro. The channel was previously known as RTL Shop.

30-09-2010, 10:37
NBCU appoints channels boss for Iberia

NBC Universal has appointed David Nunez, managing director, Universal Networks International, Spain and Portugal. Nunez joins from thematic channel Cosmopolitan TV and will run NBCU channels including 13th Street Universal and Syfy Universal in Iberia.

30-09-2010, 10:38
TF1’s Nonce Paolini becomes president of industry group

The French industry group for privately held broadcasters has appointed Nonce Paolini its president. Paolini is chairman and managing director of TF1 and will serve a two-year term in his role at the Association of Private Channels (ACP). He succeeds Canal Plus president Bertrand Méheut in the position.

On the same day as Paolini’s appointment, the industry group publicly questioned the findings of a working group report into the marketing and publicity activities of French state broadcaster France Télévisions. It argues that the fact that the broadcaster is still transmitting some advertising undermines the rationale for imposing a tax, even at a reduced level, on other media companies to plug the gap created by the removal of ads from France Télévisions’ channels.

“The ACP recalls that the private channels do not have to finance a public competitor. In addition, this competitor disturbs the advertising market by an abnormally low tariff policy,” the group said in a statement.”

30-09-2010, 10:39
Manufacturers holding up 3D channel development, say cable operators

The willingness of 3D TV manufacturers to cooperate with Hollywood studios on content windows for 3D movies will delay the development of service providers’ own 3D channels, according to leading European cable operators.

Speaking on a panel session on 3D at the CTAM EuroSummit in Budapest, Benny Salaets, vice-president of product marketing at Belgian operator Telenet, said that studios “need to make up their minds” on the positioning of content, where the windows for theatrical and Blu-ray DVD release means that creating a dedicated 3D channel is difficult to justify. “TV manufacturers are willing to buy into that window which slows down the whole project,” he said.

Jorge Filipe Graca, head of product at Portuguese cable operator Zon Multimedia, agreed that the current policy of studios “stops the regular cycle of distribution. The people interested in the mass market at this point are the ones stopping the actual content from flowing.”

However, Vassilis Seferidis, director of European business development at Samsung Electronics Europe, said: “There is a problem…When you launch a product you need content. We have to go directly to the content owners and work with them; they are the ones driving it.” He said that things should begin to change from next year, when he hoped that there would be sufficient content available to help take things forward.

Telenet launched a 3D demonstration channel in April, while Zon was the first operator in Portugal to launch a 3D showcase channel.

30-09-2010, 10:40
Cuts planned at BBC World Service

The BBC's World Service is scrapping regular drama programming after more than 75 years as part of a major cost-cutting drive, it has emerged.

According to The Guardian, World Service will drop its contract with the BBC's Audio & Music department for 14 radio plays a year from April 2011.

Also from next year, World Service will ditch its weekly hour-long BBC Proms highlights programme, as well as the daily Wimbledon highlights shows that run during the annual tennis tournament.

Proms coverage will solely be available in the World Service arts programme The Strand, while sports bulletins will continue to cover Wimbledon.

In a leaked email to staff, World Service controller of English Global News Craig Oliver said that some "difficult" decisions had to be made due to the "increasingly tough financial climate".

A BBC spokesman added: "Like all of the public sector, BBC World Service is having to respond to the challenges of an increasingly difficult financial climate at home and abroad. These are tough decisions, taken carefully and with great thought.

"We acknowledge that they will not be popular with some of our audiences and we share their disappointment."

The latest round of cost-cutting precedes what are expected to be much deeper cuts after the Foreign Office concludes negotiations over World Service's £272m annual grant.

There have been fears that the cuts, estimated to be up to 25% of the World Service budget, could result in broadcasts to countries such as Burma being scrapped.

Outgoing BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons recently confirmed that the corporation was in "robust" talks with the Foreign Office over the cuts.

However, he urged the government to give World Service more money rather than less as it is "among the most valued parts of the BBC's output both in terms of its standing in this country but certainly across the world".

Earlier in the month, the foreign secretary William Hague said that the prospect of World Service's budget cuts impacting broadcasts to smaller countries was "correspondingly small".

30-09-2010, 10:41
BBC stars facing 'double-digit' pay drops

BBC Vision director Jana Bennett has warned the corporation's top on-screen stars that they face "double-digit" drops in their pay packets.

Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire on BBC Radio 5 Live, Bennett also admitted that the ongoing controversy over the BBC's senior executive pay is "damaging the BBC".

Bennett said that the corporation is looking to reduce costs "across the board", meaning "fewer flights and more trains and so on".

The director claimed that on-screen talent faced "double digit decreases in their fee structure on television", while the corporation would continue to "drive quite a hard bargain".

She said that she had "no hard feelings" towards Adrian Chiles, who quit The One Show to join ITV after objecting to Chris Evans being drafted in to present the programme on Fridays.

"I hoped that Adrian would have looked at the different types of projects we had put on the table, I have always been a big fan," she said.

"Talent in this industry does move around, it was a case of it being weighed up in different ways. Football was a big attraction from ITV which they put on the table.

"The Friday question was a big decision, I accept that. We are rethinking Friday as a whole, not just The One Show. We wanted to bring in different types of elements of entertainment on a Friday and Chris Evans was someone I really wanted to have as part of the channel."

Bennett defended the BBC's decision to withdraw a contract offer to former The One Show presenter Christine Bleakley, who subsequently joined Chiles at ITV.

"How long to wait for a decision to be made [over a contract] is part of my job. At some point negotiations have to come to an end," Bennett said.

"We had been open to continuing discussions up to a point, to leave it too long would have meant not knowing what we were going to be doing. I did it regretfully, I don't normally have to do that, in the end it dragged on and on."

Asked out Chiles and Bleakley's new breakfast programme Daybreak, Bennett said: "I think that I quite like the look over London [from the studio].

"That kind of programme will have to bed down, there are a lot of elements in it, obviously a big change. Programmes have to be given time. I wish it well."

Bennett also defended the corporation's legal battle to prevent racing driver Ben Collins from revealing his true identity as Top Gear's The Stig, which she described as like "unmasking a superhero".

"The Stig is a great character. Imagine if you had Mickey Mouse or a superhero being unmasked every time, you start to have the magic of the show chipped away at," she said.

"The Stig is a character and creation of the Top Gear team, and a creation of the BBC and is in effect owned by the audience. The pleasure of the show is part of that magic not being destroyed. We think it is important to protect the audience's enjoyment and the magic of the show, and not unmasking our superhero character.

"There is also a contract involved... and intellectual property. These are creations through public money which other commercial concerns are exploiting. For us not to have regard to that wouldn't make us a professional broadcaster and media company."

30-09-2010, 10:42
LoveFilm secures 'Frozen' exclusive

LoveFilm, Europe's largest postal DVD and subscription movies streaming service, has partnered with Momentum Pictures for the exclusive release of Frozen.

The multiplatform deal, which represents LoveFilm's first such collaboration with a major studio, will enable the firm's subscribers to watch the movie online via the LoveFilm Player or rent the DVD/Blu-ray.

The horror movie will become available to LoveFilm members on October 1, long before it is released on retail DVD on October 18.

Directed by Adam Green, Frozen is the story of three skiers left stranded on a chairlift and forced to make the choice whether to stay put and freeze to death or make a perilous bid for safety.

To mark the film's release, LoveFIlm will launch a bespoke microsite for Frozen to host a range of promotional material and an integrated Facebook comments wall. Offline activity will include a special midnight screening of the film.

"With Frozen set to become a hit in the UK, launching a multi-tiered release - for the first time via the LoveFilm platform - gives us the opportunity to bring movie content to film-lovers via a number of different channels," said Momentum senior product manager Adam Eldrett.

"LoveFilm has put together a unique package and we are looking forward to the film's special online launch before it makes a full retail debut on DVD and Blu-ray from October 18th."

LoveFilm chief marketing officer Simon Morris added: "This is the first time we've partnered with a major film studio to release a title using our entire consumer platform including DVD and Blu-ray rental, watching online and direct-to-TV through the LoveFilm Player - further confirming LoveFilm as a leading force in driving film awareness in the UK."

Earlier in the week, LoveFilm launched a new application on the Yahoo network offering movie news, reviews and trailers.

30-09-2010, 10:43
Equatorial Guinea state TV channel refurbished

Nowegian company Nera Networks, which builds infrastructure for telecommunications worldwide, has recently refurbished the state TV channel RTVGE in Equatorial Guinea. Now propaganda from Equatorial Guinea’s dictator President Obiang reaches all corners of the country. A large number of Norwegian companies in the oil industry have contributed to building the oil industry in Equatorial Guinea. Norwatch says that some of the state’s oil revenues are being used to build up the propaganda in the country.

Last year, the Information Ministry kicked out four of the journalists from RTVGE. They had been “disobedient” and “lacked enthusiasm”, it said. According to Reporters Without Borders, the reason may be that they did not cover the government’s “track record” sufficiently. Another RTVGE journalist was arrested by police three days after he had made a radio report about seven dead bodies that were discovered on a public waste dump. Journalists are continually denied entry to the country. The only private channel is owned by the president’s son.

It is with this total media control that President Obiang wins elections by between 95 and 100 percent of the vote. Ever since 1979, when he killed his presidential uncle in a coup, Obiang has ruled the country with an iron fist. The country is among the richest in the world per capita, but 77% of the population in deep poverty. All proceeds from the oil industry go to the president’s closest allies.

Rainer Henig, who has immersed herself in Equatorial Guinea’s economic history through doctoral studies at the University of Tromsø, says it is very worrying that a Norwegian company supports such a system, and a permanent media channel is an important tool that President Obiang can use to retain power in the country.

“It’s hard for us to comment on individual contracts. In general, we believe that communications technology and infrastructure promote democracy and human rights and provide a basis for economic growth. We see this as a positive step that the country will come out of poverty,” Trygve Dahle of Nera told Norwatch. But he added that “Neither we nor other companies, unfortunately, can guarantee that our products are not misused in some situations”.

30-09-2010, 10:44
ICT project to connect African schools

A project to connect more than 600,000 schools in Africa is underway, thanks to the second Pan African satellite which was launched recently. In a bid to make sure that the African continent becomes connected via ICT, the Regional African Satellite Communications Organisation (Rascom) has partnered with other international institutes to implement the project.

“With the second satellite launched recently, we are looking to partner with NEPAD (The New Partnership for Africa’s Development) in an e-learning project aiming at providing internet connectivity to more than 600,000 in Africa,” Mr Jones Killimbe, the director general of the Regional African Satellite Communications Organisation (Rascom) said at a news conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Currently, the newly launched satellite is undergoing some testing before it is commissioned commercially, Mr Killimbe said. The intergovernmental satellite organisation with 45 member countries said it was all set to providing the African continent with an affordable telecommunications infrastructure based on space technology. “We give countries the opportunity to interconnect directly using space technology and supplement existing telecom infrastructure by allowing them to provide services in isolated areas,” Mr Killimbe added.

Among other services, the organisation intends to support e-health, e-post and transmission of both radio and television broadcasting services even in remote and underserved areas in Africa. Mr Killimbe commended the deployment of fibre optic cables around Africa, saying that the move would ultimately create reliable connectivity in the continent.

The conference was held ahead the organisation’s board of directors meeting that was hosted by the state-run Tanzania Telecommunications Company Ltd (TTCL) in Dar es Salaam.

30-09-2010, 10:45
Ukrainian TV station defies court ruling and continues to broadcast

A Ukrainian television station, which had its broadcast frequencies cancelled after a court found in favour of allegations of irregularities in the manner in which the stations were awarded their licences, has decided to defy the court ruling and continue its terrestrial broadcasts.

Channel TVi called the action by the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting - which issues the licences - “unfounded persecution” after a warning issued on Wednesday 22 September to television company Skhind + (East +) in the city Slavyanska, which legally re-broadcasts TVi’s programmes.

Citing article 45-1 of the Law of Ukraine “About Information”, TVi Chief Executive Mykola Kniazhytskyi said in a statement sent to the International Press Institute (IPI): “In accordance with current legislation of Ukraine, we do not consider the decision of the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting to revoke amendments to our licence a sufficient cause for termination of our terrestrial broadcast. “We will continue to broadcast … [and work] to prevent further imposition of censorship in Ukraine.”

Mr Kniazhytskyi said that the TV station would continue to broadcast, despite August’s court hearing. “We’re not sticking our head in the sand, but we won’t give up without a fight,” Kniazhytskyi told IPI.

Concern for press freedom in Ukraine has risen in recent months. In August, both TVi and 5 Kanal had some or all of their licences revoked due to alleged irregularities. Owner of rival media holding Inter Media Group and head of the Ukrainian Security Service, Valeriy Khoroshkovsky, was accused by 5 Kanal of influencing the decision to remove licences. Mr Khoroshkovsky has strongly refuted the allegations.

IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills said: “We reiterate our concern at continuing efforts to silence TVi in particular, and independent broadcasters in general. A diverse and critical media is the cornerstone of democracy and we remain deeply perturbed by the deterioration of media freedom in Ukraine.”

In an open letter to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in August, IPI called attention to a rise in attacks on journalists along with a growing climate of impunity, as well as the TVi/5 Kanal court case. Although President Yanukovych commented on the letter indirectly to the Ukrainian media, IPI has yet to receive a direct response.

Also in August, editor and investigative reporter Vasyl Klymentyev went missing. He has since been presumed murdered. Interior Minister Anatoly Mogylyov was quoted by the media as indicating that he believed the local authorities to be behind the journalist’s death and that it could have been linked to his reporting.

30-09-2010, 10:46
Vuguru strikes deal with Fireworks

Michael Eisner's digital production company Vuguru has struck a deal with Fireworks International that will see the ContentFilm-owned company distribute ten of its projects over the next two years.

Fireworks will distribute Vuguru's forthcoming slate of digital productions and multi-platform projects outside of the US and Canada. The first series that it will sell is 18x6mins Pretty Tough, a drama series based on the novel by Dawson's Creek writer Liz Tigelaar, about two teenage girls and their adventures on the soccer field.

This deal follows Fireworks International's distribution of Vuguru's 62 part psychological thriller The Booth at the End.

Canadian media company Rogers acquired a stake in Vurugu last year and the Prom Queen-producer will use these funds to boost its production slate.

"We're currently doing six or seven different story-driven shows a year and we want to get to ten, twenty or thirty a year," Eisner told TBIvision last year.

30-09-2010, 17:15
Eyeworks acquires Telemundo's Elisa

International producer and distributor Eyeworks has acquired a raft of European rights to Telemundo Internacional's telenovela Where Is Elisa?

The international arm of the Dutch company is hoping to produce local versions in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

The series, which originally aired on Chile's TVN, is distributed by Telemundo Internacional, the global sales arm of the NBC Universal-owned US Hispanic broadcaster. It tells the story of the disappearance of Elisa Dominguez.

Eyeworks chief executive Reinout Oerlemans said: "I was instantly convinced that the series would be a huge success in other countries. I see this format as a daily page-turner, because it's based on such a universal theme that it resonates with everyone and everywhere, just like people were struck by the Madeleine McCann case."

30-09-2010, 17:16
Koops out in Reveille restructure

Mark Koops will leave US producer Reveille as part of a restructure instigated by recently installed Shine Group Americas boss Emiliano Calemzuk.

The new structure, implemented by Calemzuk who joined Shine from Fox last month, sees Howard T. Owens remain as managing director. Robin Ashbrook is promoted from executive producer to the newly-created role of head of non-scripted entertainment, reporting to Owens.

Calemzuk said: "This is a re-structure that will equip Reveille for the next period of its growth. Streamlining Reveille's management under Howard T. Owens will continue to drive the vibrant pace at which results have grown at Reveille."

Koops will pursue a new venture 'to be announced shortly'. Market watchers speculated that he will rejoin fellow Reveille cofounder Ben Silverman in some capacity. Since leaving NBC, Silverman is running a multiplatform production company Electus.

30-09-2010, 17:16
DR gets puppy training from Zodiak

Freshly rebranded Zodiak Rights' children's format Project Puppy has been commissioned for a run in Denmark on children's public broadcaster DR Ramasjang.

The format, known as Missione Cuccioli in its native Italy, were it airs on paysat channel DeA Kids, has been picked up for a 14x30' Danish run, to be produced by Zodiak Media-owned Mastiff Media. DR Ramasjang confirmed the show would air by the year's end.

Season one of the Italian original, produced by Zodiak-owned prodco Magnolia, averaged an audience share five times the channel's average, according to figures from AGB Nielsen. A second season debuted this month. Each episode of the format sees a child given responsibility of a puppy with the help of an expert dog handler, testing their readiness to own a pooch.

This week, Matthew Frank formally took the reigns at Zodiak Rights, the new name of combined RDF Media and Zodiak distribution divisions. Frank's brother David heads up parent company Zodiak Media Group, which now also includes Zodiak USA.

30-09-2010, 17:17
Mexico guarantees accountability in Digital TV transition

The Mexican Transport and Communications Secretary head, Juan Francisco Molinar Horcasitas stated that the bid of 700 Mhz to be released in 2012 as part of Governmental actions to speed up DTT transition, will be a "transparent and public" process. The officer assured that he would not utilize the possibility to generate new free-to-air TV channels "for political purposes".

Molinar Horcasitas made such situation clear during a recent presentation at the Senate of such country. However, according to the Mexican senator Javier Orozco, the transition process has an "election objective". "There is no stage or clear objectives regarding the progress in December 31, 2015 (date scheduled for the analog blackout), they do not know how many households lack a receiver; it is clear that there is an election objective because the Social Development Secretary will be in charge of the distribution of TV sets", he sustained in declarations published by El Universal.

According to the president of the Federal Telecommunications Commission Mony de Swaan, USD 1,6 billions of the earnings generated by the 700 Mhz band bid will be utilized by the Mexican Government to finance the acquisition of DTT STBs, to be assigned to 23 million households in such country.

A decree issued by President Felipe Calderón has recently scheduled the analog blackout for 2015, thus bringing the previously scheduled 2021digital TV transition forward. Such document also established that 700 Mhz band, currently utilized by TV channels, must be released for new telecommunications services. Mexico chose the American ATSC standard to develop DTT.

30-09-2010, 17:18
Argentina will launch new DTT channels

The Argentine Radio and TV President, Tristán Bauer, informed that the Government will offer 16 channels for the four frequencies assigned to such agency for DTT - 22, 23, 24 and 25. On 28th October and between March and April 2011, a movie channel and a science channel will be launched respectively. The offer also includes three news channels, a sport and a music channel. Channel 7 and Encuentro and the children channel Paka Paka are already being broadcasted.

The movie channel will offer Argentine and Latin American productions. The objective is to face the American material offer. "The 85% of movies broadcasted in movie theaters come from the United States, whereas only the 15% is distributed between European and Latin American movies", the executive explained. Likewise, he pointed out that the new channel will form part of the digital TV systems of the "seven countries that chose ISDB-T standard in South America". In the region, in addition to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador and Venezuela have adopted the aforementioned standard.

On the other hand, the science channel will offer a 70% national material and a 30% international content. "National universities will have great participation in such content structuring". In this context, Bauer highlighted the Argentine potentiality "as the new federal production factory". "We are very well aware that TV is in charge of entertaining. And we will not move from that idea", he concluded.

30-09-2010, 17:19
TVO to launch kids channel

Provincial Canadian public broadcaster TVOntario has received the regulatory green light to launch an educational television channel aimed at grade-schoolers.

TVO Kids, okayed this week by the Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), will target children in junior kindergarten to grade five (roughly four- to 10-years-old) and take its cues from the curriculum set out for the province's schools.

The channel shares a name with TVO's online service, www.tvo//ki//ds.co//m (http://www.sat-universe.com/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tvo%2F%2Fki%2F %2Fds.co%2F%2Fm) . It will be commercial-free and air educational programming, animation and some general entertainment shows. It is also allowed to run a small amount of drama series and movies. Half of its programming will come from Canada, said TVO.

The application to launch the service was opposed by Knowledge Network, which argued that the new, country-wide channel would encroach on its own educational programming in British Columbia. Corus Entertainment also complained that the TVO Kids audience would overlap with those of its own Treehouse and Teletoon outlets.

The CRTC noted that TVO Kids is not a Category

30-09-2010, 17:20
C4, Nova order Chilean miners doc

US doc strand Nova and UK broadcaster Channel 4 are coproducing an hour-long documentary about the trapped Chilean miners, which Mentorn International will distribute at Mipcom.

The documentary is being made by Tinopolis-owned Pioneer Productions and follows the story of the 33 workers who have been trapped in a copper mine since its collapse in Chile on August 5.

"In addition to the compelling human story, Nova is interested in giving viewers a more in-depth understanding of the incredible engineering feats and scientific concepts being employed in the rescue operation, as well as the risks involved in these unfolding events," said Nova exec producer Howard Swartz.

The doc was ordered by C4's science commissioning editor David Glover and the producer for Pioneer is William Hicklin, with Pioneer MD Stuart Carter exec producing.

30-09-2010, 17:21
FCC Tees Up CableCARD Fixes

The Federal Communications Commission has tentatively slated changes to the CableCARD regime for its Oct. 14 meeting.
As part of its push for a universal gateway device to unite online and traditional video, the FCC also proposed varoius changes to the CableCARD regime, underwhich broadcasters were required to implement a hardware solution to separating the surfing and security functions in cable digital set-tops.
The FCC mandated the separation to goose a retail market in set-tops, but has since conceded it did not work.

While the FCC's proposal is to replace the current set-top regime with a universal device cabable of integrating traditional and online video, in the meantime it said it wanted to make some tweaks to the CableCARD system to improve it.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has argued that those short-term fixes should include ending the ban on integrated set-tops altogether and sopt requiring any more cards to be deployed.
"[T]the integration ban has imposed more than a billion dollars in costs on cable operators and consumers, yet there is no compelling evidence of any correlation between CableCARD use in leased devices and the adoption of retail CableCARD devices or other consumer benefits," NCTA said in comments to the FCC back in June.

"But even if there were such evidence, there is certainly no evidence that consumers would receive a commensurate incremental benefit from continued imposition of the ntegration ban on devices over and above the 20 million CableCARD devices cable operators have already deployed."

NCTA said it was not suggesting "abandoning" support for those existing 20 million boxes. It argued that since the FCC has never said it was necessary for all leased devices to include the cards, and the 10 largest operators have deployed those 20 million, it is better to stop now "rather than unnecessarily forcing consumers to bear millions more in costs in the name of supporting a regime that in any event the Commission wants to replace."

Also on the agenda, released Thursday, is seeking comment on a proposal to require mobile carrier to supply usage alerts to customers to avoid "bill shock," and wether or not to set aside funds in the Universal Service Fund to support private investment in 3G wireless mobile services where it is currently not available.

The mobility fund is part of the overall Universal Service Fund reform the FCC outlined as part of the National Broadband Plan. The FCC adopted Universal Service Reform, changes to the fund supporting schools and libraries, at its meeting Thursday Sept. 23, and FCC chairman Genachowksi suggested it would me moving as expeditiously as possible on more USF reform.

30-09-2010, 17:22
Verizon CEO: Cord-Cutting Will Threaten Cable TV
Seidenberg Also Says Telco Will Implement Wireless Usage-Based Tiers

Verizon Communications chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg said he sees parallels between the onset of declining cable TV subscriptions and consumers cutting their phone company landlines, speaking at an investors conference Thursday.

seidenberg.jpg"Cable is probably starting to experience what we experienced five to six years ago [in voice service], which is the low end is disappearing into other alternatives," said Seidenberg, speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference in New York. "The first thing when that happens is, you deny it. I know the drill. I've been there."

Added Seidenberg, "Young people are pretty smart. They're not going to pay for something you don't have to pay for. You've got to watch the market... Over-the-top is going to be a pretty big issue for cable."

For the time being, Verizon itself is still adding FiOS TV customers although at a slower pace than in previous years. Seidenberg said FiOS TV for the third quarter is tracking to be better than the second quarter of 2010, when the company had 174,000 net adds on video subscribers.

However, Seidenberg said, all players in the pay-TV business are going to get "disintermediated over the next several years. It's going to take a little time."

Of the telco's approximately 3.5 million FiOS TV customers, "we think we're not going to keep them all the way the old cable model kept them, so we're looking at lots of different alternatives to make sure we participate in how to monetize over-the-top across range of platforms, which we're working on," he said.

Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless -- the telco's joint venture with Vodafone -- will follow AT&T's path into usage-based billing for wireless data services sometime in the next four to six months, Seidenberg said.

"Our view on that is that we didn't have to be first," he said.

AT&T in June eliminated the flat-rate, all-you-can-eat data plan it previously required for customers with iPhones and other smartphones. AT&T now offers two tiers of wireless data service: DataPlus, capped at 200 Megabytes per month for $15; and DataPro, with 2 Gigabytes per month for $25.

Verizon Wireless' usage-based tiers and bundles will be different than AT&T's, Seidenberg indicated. "I don't think we want to match our pricing with what's going on today... but we do agree with tiered pricing, and we do think we have to monetize the investments we make."

Meanwhile, Seidenberg said he didn't believe Verizon Wireless had an "iPhone deficit" in terms of losing business to AT&T because of its competitor's exclusive deal with Apple for the popular device. Verizon Wireless is planning to build on the success it has seen with the Motorola Droid phone, he added, and the carrier expects to see numerous devices available to run on 4G networks.

At another point in the discussion, Seidenberg acknowledged that cable's DOCSIS has trumped telcos' digital subscriber line services: "DSL is losing out to cable."

Seidenberg is expected to retire sometime in 2011. Earlier this week, Verizon's board appointed Lowell McAdam, currently CEO of Verizon Wireless, to be the telco's president and COO, positioning him succeed Seidenberg.

30-09-2010, 17:23
DISCLOSE Act Fails Second Time to Get Floor Vote
Cloture Vote Falls Short Of 60 Votes With 59-39 Count

The DISCLOSE Act failed for the second time to overcome a filibuster and get a vote on the Senate floor. The cloture vote was 59-39 Thursday afternoon (60 votes are needed).

A cloture vote also failed back in July on the bill, which among other things would require TV and radio campaign ads to feature CEOs and top funders in on-screen disclaimers.

The bill would allow waivers for ads in which the disclaimer was so long as to leave no time for the message, but that did not address the issue of whether such disclaimers effectively chilled political speech.

The bill would also have maintained the ban on direct expenditures by corporations on electioneering communications if they did more than $10,000 worth of contracting work for the government, and for companies with foreign ownership beyond a threshold percentage.

The ban on direct funding of ads advocating the election or defeat of federal candidates in the run-ups to primaries and elections was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court last September. Primarily Democrats in the House and Senate have been trying ever since to craft a bill that would take some of the teeth out of a decision they saw as opening the floodgates to corporate dollars and control of elections.

Bill opponents argued the bill was a change to reimpose speech restrictions, while carving out a harbor for unions and special interests.

"The DISCLOSE Act was not a serious attempt at campaign finance reform," said Bradley Smith, chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, which strongly opposed the bill. "This bill was written behind closed doors by the majority party to benefit incumbents. Democratic leaders made no serious attempt to pass a bipartisan bill, writing a bill that silences businesses groups while leaving labor unions largely unfettered."

According to the center, Sen. Chuckh Schumer (D-NY), one of the bill's sponsors, had offered Wednesday to amend the bill so that it would go into effect after the mid-term elections--it had been written to take effect immediately in hopes of affecting those elections.

The American Civil Liberties Union has come out against the bill, saying it would inflict "unnecessary damage on speech rights."

"Once the dust settles after Election Day, the Senate would be wise to revisit the DISCLOSE Act," said Meredith McGehee, policy director for The Campaign Legal Center, which backed the bill. "Polls have repeatedly shown that Americans, by overwhelming margins, are strongly opposed to corporations and unions spending unlimited amounts anonymously to elect or defeat candidates and that citizens expect their elected representatives in Washington to act. Public disgust and calls for a congressional response will only increase as Americans nationwide will be forced this election season to sit through endless attack ads paid for by groups with patriotic names and completely anonymous backers."

30-09-2010, 17:24
NBC rejects Apple TV content deal

Last week Warner Bros rejected Apple’s IPTV content offer, and this week NBC Universal has come to the same conclusion – offering content for 99 cents isn’t good for their business.

However a lot of companies beg to differ and Apple TV has already signed up News Corp.’s Fox, The Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, ABC Family and Disney Channel and BBC America to its cheap content deal.

Apple recently announced a $99 version of its IPTV set-top box, and plans to offer 99-cent show rentals on iTunes.

NBC Universal believes that the deal would “devalue” its content.

According to Reuters News agency News Corp is also tentative about the arrangement, with President Chase Carey saying at a Goldman Saches investor conference that Fox content was being made available on Apple TV as a short term test.

30-09-2010, 17:25
Current TV Expands Affiliate Team
Hilbert, Stengel Join As Distribution VPs

Current TV has expanded its affiliate sales team with the appointments of Kristen Dean Hilbert and Diana Stengel, each as vice president of distribution.

The two new positions follow the spring appointment of Courtney Menzel as executive VP of affiliate sales and mark the beginning of her aggressive investment in building an infrastructure that will support the growth of the network and build stronger relationships with the affiliate community, the network said.

"This is a unique and important moment for Current," Menzel said in a release. "In just five years, Current has grown to 60 million US homes and we are now implementing a strategy that will continue this growth. We are moving forward with ambitious plans to both extend our brand and expand our original programming. At the root of these changes is a commitment to listen to and adapt to the needs of our affiliate partners."

Hilbert and Stengel will help build and manage the affiliate sales team. They will be responsible for developing cross platform sales strategies and tactics to serve new and existing affiliate partners and will be responsible for executing a unified approach to building and nurturing strong affiliate relationships at the national, division and regional levels.

Hilbert joins Current TV from SheSpeaks, a social media company where she served as VP of business development.

Earlier she moved up through several positions in the affiliate relations department at Oxygen Media, and most recently served as VP, national accounts. Previously, she held sales positions at Comedy Central and CBS Broadcast International.

Stengel for the last two years has led digital distribution at Current TV, including building the network's video-on-demand partnerships, among other platforms. Prior to Current TV, she was director of digital media at Helio, a multi-million dollar wireless venture between Earthlink and SK-Telecom. She has also held Marketing and Advertising positions at Comcast Entertainment Group and ADD Marketing and Advertising.

30-09-2010, 17:26
Humax Freeview-HD PVR reviewMinor niggles aside, this dual-tuner Freeview digital TV recorder presses all the right buttons

What to watch … the 14-day EPG on the Humax Freeview-HD PVR

I am watching Mad Men in glorious HD. If I were out, I would be looking forward to coming home to it, knowing that despite the fact I forgot to check what was on TV this evening, I'd have it recorded anyway.

No, I don't have a pricey Sky+ subscription and box. I just have bogstandard Freeview and the latest addition to the Humax stable, its Freeview+ HD PVR, the HDR-FOX T2. At around £329, it works out a lot cheaper than a Sky subscription, too.

But the name (why Fox?!) is almost the only rubbish thing about this lovely piece of kit, a 500GB Freeview+ dual tuner recorder. Not only does it do what it says on the tin very well, it also has a number of other tricks at its disposal.

At its most straightforward, it's a smart, intuitive video recorder that delivers what looks to my admittedly not very discerning eye and my 32in Panasonic telly very good indeed HD pictures and perfectly acceptable SD pictures.

Round the back are lots of connectors: HDMI, Scart, composite video, analogue audio and optical audio, which means the box can also output Dolby Digital Pulse Audio Output should have you have a full-fat sound system for your telly. Additionally it's got two USB ports and an Ethernet port – no Wi-Fi, mind.

Lookswise, it's biggish – the same size as its predecessor, the PVR 9200T – and black, with a big circular on-off button that glows blue when it's on and orange when it's recording, plus a display panel.

If you've used any of Humax's previous products, you'll hit the ground running with this. The user interface is smart and minimalist, with the usual very good grid-layout 14-day EPG that you can search. Set-up is pretty straightforward – plug it in and it will scan and load Freeview TV and radio channels.

Once it's on, you can do all the clever stuff you'd expect – pause and rewind live TV, watch one show while recording a second or record two shows while watching a third from the hard drive.

The only thing I dislike about it is the management of channel lists. Clearly you're not going to want to flick through all the Freeview channels, many of which are dross, but it's not easy to set up a list of your favourites. That's because there are a couple of menu items in different places in the options, and a button on the remote, that claim to be list management tools, but I could only create and manage my favourites list by going via the Settings option. The otherwise good user manual isn't much help here, either.

Plugged into a router or a wireless bridge, the box's network setup is fast and easy. For now it's just used for streaming content from your network to your telly, but there's a button on the remote marked TV Portal which hints at things to come – this box will be able to deliver on-demand and catch-up content, including Sky's online service.

The remote is smaller and less crowded with buttons than that of its standard-def predecessor, though if you're used to that, you will have to get used to a few changes. There's no mute button on this remote, for example, as there was on the remote for the PVR-9200T, and the buttons to skip through recordings are rather small.

Still, those are niggles about what is otherwise the box I've been waiting for. And if you don't want to fork out for a Sky+ or Virgin subscription but do want the functionality of their boxes, it might well be the box you've been waiting for too.

Pros: Easy set-up; elegant UI; mostly very easy to use; Dolby Digital output.

Cons: Those channel lists; it would be nice if it had Wi-Fi; some of the buttons on the remote are a bit fiddly.

30-09-2010, 17:27
Welsh minister backs S4C in funding crisis

Alun Ffred Jones tells Welsh Assembly of concern over cuts in broadcaster's grant and urges national government to consult

heritage minister Alun Ffred Jones yesterday joined the Cardiff political establishment in lending support to troubled broadcaster S4C.

Jones revealed that he is meeting the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, next week and has already written to express concern over the £2m cut in S4C's £101m annual budget proposed by the coalition government. He is asking Hunt to abide by the guarantees on annual funding that are enshrined in broadcasting legislation.

In a statement to the Welsh Assembly, Jones said: "The [Welsh] government is very concerned about the cultural and economic impact should S4C's budget be cut, and its output reduced. The DCMS [Department for Culture, Media and Sport] should not ignore its statutory obligations to the channel."

S4C was set up as a public service broadcaster, "not a government department or non-governmental body," he added.

Jones said S4C should be treated similarly to other public service broadcasters in discussions about its long-term future and financing.

"Television programmes are at the heart of our public life, as relevant and important for Welsh-speaking viewers as it is to those viewing in English," he added. "It provides an essential component of British public service broadcasting, and is at the heart of the creative industries in Wales."

He said that S4C also has a key role to play beyond broadcasting and fostering the creative economy, in ensuring the Welsh language continues to thrive and remains a modern language.

Jones added that he accepted public spending cuts were on the way, but said these should only be contemplated after "appropriate consideration and consultation.

30-09-2010, 17:27
Qtel: Free HD channels

Qatari telco Qtel is running a pilot project that will make HD channels available for free on its IPTV service ‘Mozaic TV+’. The HD channels will be delivered over the fibre-based network which Qtel has installed in the West Bay area, and the first to be offered will be Al Kass Sports HD, Luxe HD, Dream HD, and Dubai Sports HD – with more to follow.

The new HD channels will be available for free until the end of 2010, when the HD Upgrade price shall be announced. The HD channels will also be available to customers in Umm Saeed and West Bay Lagoon who are part of Qtel’s Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) rollout.

30-09-2010, 17:28
Vision IPTV launching Internet TV platform

UK-based IPTV services provider Vision IPTV will launch its fully featured Internet TV platform at Mipcom. The platform enables broadcasters to create fully interactive television channels online where viewers can view programmes ahead of schedule and catch up on previous programmes, skipping items, while being guided by a scheduled TV channel. Broadcasters can customise the programme schedule to enable personalised programming and advertising. It also enables them to provide this to connected viewing devices and platforms such as PC, mobiles, STBs, connected TV’s and social network platforms like Facebook and MySpace.

Vision IPTV plans to launch a range of channels in the autumn using the Vision IPTV platform, including VXTV, a suite of 30 TV channels for Sri Lankans living abroad.

30-09-2010, 17:29
du and On Demand ink deal with MBC

On Demand Group have completed a deal with MBC to provide hundreds of hours of Arabic TV content to UAE’s integrated telecom service provider du’s VOD TV service. In the first subscription VOD and Catch-Up TV deal by MBC – a major free-to-air Middle Eastern TV broadcaster – top TV series will be available to du subscribers to watch whenever they want with full DVD-like control to pause, fast forward or watch over again at their own convenience.

du‚s Video on Demand service, launched in 2009, has become the most successful Video on Demand service in the Middle East, and is managed in partnership with London-based On Demand Group.

30-09-2010, 17:30
Intelsat’s Galaxy 15 communications satellite.

Intelsat’s Galaxy 15 communications satellite, dubbed the “zombie satellite,” lost contact with its controllers in April but is stuck “on” and continues to transmit signals as its operators on Earth work to avoid potential interference with other nearby spacecraft. Galaxy 15 passed Anik F2 without harm on Sept 9, which suggests that Intelsat’s engineers have become extremely efficient at performing a sort of celestial ballet as they avoid potentially catastrophic situations.

Intelsat engineers had estimated – or hoped - that the satellite would lose power and shut itself off in late August, but that has not happened. “It has not powered down yet, and it continues to drift — but we still know where it’s going, and it’s still following a predictable path,” Intelsat spokesman Nick Mitsis said. Galaxy 15 was launched to 133 deg West back in October 2005, and control was lost in April 2010 with the blame centred on a damaging and powerful solar flare which happened at the same time.

Since then the satellite has drifted at a very steady rate of some 0.16 degrees East per day, and over the past few months has drifted alongside Galaxy 13, Galaxy 14 and an EchoStar and DirecTV craft. Some satellites within its path cause no transmission problem because they are using either different frequencies or have their beams focused on a region outside the continental USA. For example, it is now in the vicinity of SatMex 5, but while engineers will be monitoring the situation extremely closely there will be little or no risk of interference. Sirius/XM’s XM4 is the next in line, then SatMex 6.

The next few weeks or so will therefore see Galaxy 15 pass Anik F2, the two EchoStar craft at 110 deg West, and DirecTV 5. Two more Aniks (F1 and F1R) will need to be avoided at 107.3 degrees, but they are many weeks away in terms of Galaxy 15’s possible route.

Intelsat officials stress there is no risk of it physically colliding with other spacecraft, so their team’s main focus is preventing Galaxy 15′s signals from interfering with neighboring satellites. The 4,171-pound satellite has resisted many attempts to shut it down, leaving the defunct satellite stuck drifting in space and still “talking.”

Intelsat’s engineers – and those looking after the other fleets – have their satellites on a very close watch and insist that while the whole episode is regrettable there is absolutely no prospect of an in-orbit collision. Diane vanBeber, Intelsat’s VP/Investor Relations, compared the situation to two mirrors reflecting the same image as one passes the other. “If you’re looking at a mirror, it’s sending its image back to you,” she said. “But if another mirror came around the top of that mirror and was passing by, that would also reflect the image you were sending back as well. When you have two different signals coming down, that creates the interference,” she said.

Ultimately, it is expected that the Intelsat platform will lose the ability to point its solar panels at the Sun and experience total power failure. This could take some months, and as far as Intelsat is concerned cannot happen soon enough. When this ‘failure’ happens the Intelsat engineers will then have a fresh chance to ‘re-boot’ the satellite and possibly recover their valuable asset.

30-09-2010, 17:31

RRsat Global Communications Network and BT’s Media and Broadcast division have collaborated to provide the technological expertise and network infrastructure behind a 3D music and dance spectacle beamed live from London to Tel Aviv beach last week. The free event was organsed by one of RRsat’s major Israeli customers as a marketing initiative. The event was unique in providing interactions between the live audiences in London’s South Bank and Tel Aviv giving Tel Aviv a 3D perspective of the events unfolding in London.

The collaboration between BT’s Media and Broadcast division and RRsat is one of the first fruits of the strategic agreement signed in June 2010 whereby both companies agreed to sell and market each other’s solutions. Its significance as an event is due to the fact that previous live 3D HD events were confined to using satellites whereas this broadcast was entirely transmitted via terrestrial networks.

BT provided the connection between the stage in London via the BT Tower switch, then routing the 3D signal over the BT network to RRsat in London where it was routed over the RRsat Global Network to the Tel Aviv screening site. The signal was then decoded and re-processed before being presented.

According to Ziv Mor, CTO and VP Business Development of RRsat, “This live transmission marked a significant milestone for 3D and for our company in that it proved the capability to deliver 3D live contribution at high quality by traditional terrestrial networks overcoming issues like bridging different networks from different service providers and compatibility between different vendors and standards. This event demonstrates that our substantial investment in the RRsat Global Network design and technology has yielded a robust and flexible global network. The success of this event has also demonstrated RRsat’s and BT’s cooperation at both commercial and technology levels.”

Mark Wilson Dunn, BT Wholesale’s media and broadband global sales & marketing director added, “The success of this live broadcast was a testament to the expertise and commitment of both the BT and RRsat team working on the transmission. We believe that 3D live broadcasts are likely to be a key element in future major sporting and entertainment events and have demonstrated our combined capability to deliver to the highest standards.”

30-09-2010, 17:31
FCC opens vacant wavelengths for broadband

The FCC has paved the way for new high-speed web devices by releasing unused television frequencies for use by mobile broadband.

The unanimous decision of the Federal Communications Commission, was hailed by the regulator as its first major release of unlicensed spectrum in 25 years. It will open the way for service providers to market services and devices that communicate using spectrum that had been left vacant as an interference buffer zone (or ‘white spaces) for broadcast TV stations.

The decision “will enhance our economy and strengthen our global competitiveness, lead to billions of dollars in private investment and to valuable new products and services – some we can imagine, and many we can’t,” FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said after the vote.

30-09-2010, 17:32
RTVE meltdown?

The financial future of the public TV group RTVE looks increasingly bleak. Brussel’s decision to start legal proceedings against Spain over the tax on telco operators to finance RTVE, on the grounds that it may break the European legislation, may ruin its new financial model and open the door for privatization.

The EC’s objection to the tax is encouraging telco operators to rebel against the 0.9 per cent per cent tax over their revenues; about E250 million. Redtel, the Association of operators such as Telefonica, Vodafone, Orange and ONO, is appealing against the law before the Spanish Supreme Court. The operators are also taking the case to the Telecommunications Market Commission (CMT) and in a later phase to the European Court.

To complicate matters, the Spanish Advertisers Association (AEA) has offered to foot the telco operators’ bill of E250 million, on condition that the Government approves a moratorium and allows advertising again on RTVE’s channels. The advertisers want Spain to follow France’s example and postpone from 2011 to 2014 the elimination of advertising (on the main FTA public channel). They say will avoid advertising saturation on other stations (according to them, TV advertising has increased by 30 per cent since the advertising ban on RTVE).

In the meantime, the Government has tightened the squeeze on RTVE again by reducing by 6 per cent its state subsidy in 2011 up to E547 million (down E35 million). Despite of all these bad news, RTVE has just approved a budget of E1.2bn million including the E250 million from telco operators, E100 million from private TV channels (representing 3 per cent of advertising supported revenues and 1.5 per cent in the case of pay-TV channels), E315 million from spectrum tax, and E27 million from the sale of programmes, among other revenues.

The board of directors have also approved to cut the salary of the top managers and directors (a reduction of 10 per cent in the case of members of the board of directors and 5 per cent concerning other managers), and even TV presenters. Alberto Öliart, the president of RTVE, has cut 15 per cent off his salary.

30-09-2010, 17:33
Discovery announces new management for Europe

Discovery Networks International has announced a new senior management structure for its operations in Europe, Middle East & Africa. The new structure organises the European operation geographically into two businesses which cluster those markets in similar stages of development.

The Western Europe operation covers 16 markets including the UK, Germany, Southern Europe, Nordic and Benelux and is led by Dee Forbes, EVP, Discovery Networks UK & Western Europe. In the region Discovery broadcasts more than 17 channel brands, including Discovery Channel, Quest, Animal Planet, Science and TLC. It will continue to be run from the London headquarters and has regional offices in Italy, Spain, Benelux, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

The senior management team for Western Europe has been named as:

Susanna Dinnage – General Manager, UK
Jan Andreassen – General Manager, Nordics
Jochem De Jong – General Manager, Benelux
Magnus Kastner – General Manager, Germany
Marinella Soldi – General Manager, Southern Europe
Dan Korn – SVP, Head of Programming
Simon Downing – VP, Head of Marketing Communications
Fulvia Nicoli – SVP, Head of Research & Insight
Chris Shaw – SVP, Ad-sales
Caleb Weinstein – SVP, Head of Distribution
Sarah Farley – Director, Corporate Communications

The senior management team for Eastern Europe has been named as:

Phillip Luff – Acting GM, Central Europe
Paul Welling – Head of Channels
Fulvia Nicoli – SVP, Head of Research & Insight
Chris Shaw – SVP, Ad-sales
Caleb Weinstein – SVP, Head of Distribution & Acting GM Emerging Markets
Jon Bennett – Director, Corporate Communications

30-09-2010, 17:34
C5 pulls gameshow out of the hat

In the UK, Richard Desmond's Channel 5 has commissioned a magic-themed gameshow from Sony-backed Gogglebox Entertainment and GroupM Entertainment.

Impossible? (6x60'), fronted by illusionist and self-styled 'mind-reader' Philip Escoffey, will air on Channel 5 in the new year. It will have a couple taking on Escoffey "in a battle of wits," said the network.

Greg Barnett, C5's commissioning editor for daytime entertainment and soaps, said: "Impossible? is an unusual and intriguing format, combining all the elements of a high-stakes gameshow with the spectacle of magic and illusion."

The executive producers are Adam Wood and Mat Steiner from Gogglebox and Richard Foster and Tony Moulsdale from GroupM. Debbie Young will series produce. No word yet as to which firm will handle international rights.

30-09-2010, 17:35
Wadsworth out at Disney Internet

Steve Wadsworth is to resign as head of the company’s interactive media group after more than a decade running the unit. Pressure has been building for the division to deliver a better return on the substantial investments Disney has made in its online activities.

The company has tried to stay abreast of rapidly changing trends in online behaviour and recently agreed a $563 million deal to buy Playdom, which makes games for Facebook.

30-09-2010, 17:36
Brazil's GVT confirms 2011 launch for pay-TV service

GVT is planning to launch a hybrid DTH+IP pay-TV service in the second half of next year, according to reports in local news website Teletime.

The reports quote Alcides Troller, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing at the company as saying that the IP elements of the service will be delivered over the operator's VDSL-based broadband network, depending on the approval of the PL 116 bill (previously known as the PL 29 bill).

GVT is also planning its investments for 2011, which should be defined in October, with a budget of BRL 1.5bn (US$ 870mn) approved by its shareholders.

30-09-2010, 17:36
Golf Channel chooses ScheduLINK to optimize production, transmissions

The Golf Channel is using ScheduALL business tools to manage bookings, resource management and invoicing. ScheduLINK, ScheduALL's transmission platform, has built-in tools to allocate capacity and configure and route satellite and antenna transmissions for viewing.

The Golf Channel uses ScheduLINK to book domestic and international transmission feeds with vendors such as Intelsat and NEP. Feeds can include tournaments, news events and weekly shows. With ScheduLINK, the network is able to book work orders for satellite or antenna transmissions, determine requirements, and request confirmation from vendors for standard 18MHz and HD broadcasting in one cohesive, interoperable platform.

30-09-2010, 17:37
FCC Frees Up TV 'White Space'

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The vacant spectrum between TV channels—known as "white spaces"—has been freed up by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with a view to facilitating the rollout of high-speed wireless Internet connections.

The FCC says that unlocking this spectrum, which has been sought-after by tech giants like Microsoft, "will open the doors for new industries to arise, create American jobs, and fuel new investment and innovation." The freeing up of white spaces was a key recommendation of the U.S. government's National Broadband Plan. White spaces applications could generate more than $7 billion in economic value annually.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski noted: "As President Obama recently said, 'our nation’s success depends on strengthening America’s role as the world’s engine of discovery and innovation.' Today, the Commission takes a big step to open a new platform for American innovation. This is important. It will enhance our economy and strengthen our global competitiveness, lead to billions of dollars in private investment and to valuable new products and services—some we can imagine, and many we can’t."

He continued, "We know what the first major application will be: super Wi-Fi. Super Wi-Fi is what it sounds like: Wi-Fi, but with longer range, faster speeds, and more reliable connections. We can also expect, as we’ve seen now with Wi-Fi, enhanced performance from the mobile devices using licensed spectrum that we’ve come to rely on so heavily. Other countries have been looking at Super Wi-Fi. By giving the green light now, the United States will be the first nation to deploy this technology. We can have the investment here, the intellectual property developed and the products launched here, and then export our products globally – all contributing to U.S. job creation and economic growth."

30-09-2010, 17:38
Jeff Zucker to Exit NBCU Post-Merger

NEW YORK: Jeff Zucker has said he will step down as chief executive of NBC Universal following the company's merger with Comcast Corporation.

The Comcast takeover of NBCU is likely to be complete by year-end, once regulatory approvals are in place. Zucker told the New York Times that the decision to leave was not his own choice. Comcast's COO, Steve Burke, Zucker told the Times, "made it clear that they wanted to move on at the close of the deal and I was completely comfortable with that.” He went on to describe his impending departure as “incredibly emotional” and “gut-wrenching in the sense that you have spent your whole life here at NBC.”

He went on to say, "Look, I knew from the day this was announced that this was a possibility. I wasn’t going to shut the door on anything. But in the last nine months it became increasingly clear that they did want to put their own team in place — and I didn’t want to end up being a guest in my own house.”

Announcing his departure to NBCU staff, Zucker said, "I haven't even begun to think about the next chapter."

30-09-2010, 17:39
Netflix, NBCU Expand Licensing Deal

NEW YORK/BEVERLY HILLS: Netflix subscribers will soon be able to stream a slate of content from NBC Universal's cable channels, as well as series from the broadcast network, as part of an expanded licensing agreement announced today.

The multiyear deal between Netflix and NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution delivers streaming access to episodes from every season of Saturday Night Live, including day-after broadcast of the upcoming 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons plus hundreds of library episodes. Also available are episodes from the last seasons of 30 Rock, The Office and Law & Order: SVU, plus previous seasons of those shows. Netflix subscribers also gain instant access to all prior seasons of Friday Night Lights, Psych, Battlestar Galactica, Destination Truth and Eureka.

"This agreement adds meaningfully to the wide variety of content that can be streamed from Netflix and breaks new ground in our relationship with NBC Universal," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix.

30-09-2010, 17:40
Survey Reveals Most Successful TV Brands

LONDON: A global survey conducted by Brand Licensing Europe has found that The Simpsons is the most successfully licensed television show of all time, followed by Sesame Street and Looney Tunes.

The Simpsons has over 400 official licensees, with worldwide retail sales topping $8 billion, BLE reports. The organizers of next week's event surveyed global licensing professionals on the shows that have been able to generate successful revenue stream through the sale of licensed merchandise. The Simpsons took 31 percent of the vote, while Sesame Street took 26 percent and Looney Tunes 10 percent.

The most powerful licensed film character of all time, the BLE survey says, is Harry Potter, with 20.8 percent of the vote, edging out Luke Skywalker at 20.6 percent and Superman at 20.1 percent.

The Muppet Show was voted the brand most likely to offer the best licensing opportunities should it be revived again, ahead of Star Trek and Friends. Lost was voted the TV program with the most potential for further licensing growth, followed by The Sopranos and Baywatch.

30-09-2010, 17:41
AETN International to Offer Up Lifetime Movies

NEW YORK: AETN International is expanding into scripted programming at MIPCOM, delivering a slate of TV movies from Lifetime, led by Tangled with Hayden Panettiere.

The TV movie tells the true story of an American exchange student accused of murdering her college roommate. Produced by Pilgrim Films and Television, Tangled, set for a 2011 broadcast, is available for presale. Also on offer at MIPCOM are He Loves Me featuring Heather Locklear, Gone starring Molly Parker, Never Tell a Lie with Clea Duvall and Ashley with Jennifer Morrison and AJ Cook.

“It’s been nearly one year since the merger of AETN and Lifetime, and we are pleased to mark this auspicious anniversary with the launch of Lifetime movies and other programs internationally,” said Sean Cohan, senior VP of international at AETN. “Lifetime is the highest-rated women’s network in the U.S. and is renowned for production quality and compelling storytelling, particularly its movies. We look forward to establishing AETN as the ‘go-to’ supplier of TV movies to the international broadcast community.”

Nancy Dubuc, president and general manager of HISTORY and Lifetime Networks, added, “Lifetime’s leading role in developing and producing original movies is unparalleled. As demand for quality original movies featuring top talent remains high, now it’s time to expand this success globally with these five gripping films through AETN International’s extensive reach across the world."

30-09-2010, 17:42
Sciencetainment Show Clever! Heads to Malaysia

MUNICH: SevenOne International's hit format Clever! is to launch on Malaysian pay-TV channel Astro on September 26 under the local title Clever edisi Malaysia!.

The show has been produced in Malaysia by PIK film. The series will be presented by Malaysian TV personalities Aznil Nawawi and Rafidah Abdullah.

SevenOne has sold Clever! into more than 20 countries worldwide, including Canada, Spain, Russia, Australia and China. France 3 also recently commissioned a new season of the show.

Yan He, a regional sales director at SevenOne International, said: "We are delighted to see the Clever! way of teaching science entertainingly on TV enter Malaysia. Thanks to its original concept, the show is a worldwide bestseller and I am absolutely positive, that especially students and teenagers will love the show."

30-09-2010, 17:43
Endemol to Present New Hybrid Formats

LONDON: The MIPCOM slate from Endemol features a number of new hybrid formats that cross programming genres and media platforms, headlined by the multiplatform hit The Money Drop.

The Money Drop is a TV game show that can simultaneously played online at home. The show is rolling out to major markets worldwide, including FOX in the U.S., which has commissioned a broadcast pilot.

Further highlights include Zoom, a new format that combines TV and social media. The series watches as five contestants are followed by cameras 24 hours a day. The fate of the participants will be determined by a Social Community Index, which counts their popularity on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

There's also Stuck in a Game Show, which blends the reality and game show genres. Five contestants live on the set, with only one way to escape, by winning the game show. The format was co-developed with the creative teams at French TV.

Tom Toumazis, the chief commercial officer at Endemol Group, said, “What makes these formats stand out is the way they blend program genres and media platforms while delivering real drama and entertainment. In the case of The Money Drop we have a proven hit that’s soon to debut in the U.S. and is rolling out internationally as the buzz around it grows. We believe this is an exceptionally strong lineup and we’re looking forward to a busy market.”

30-09-2010, 17:44
YouView 'could fall foul of YouTube trademarks'
YouView, the BBC-backed internet connected set-top box, formerly known as Project Canvas, is 'likely to fall foul of YouTube's trademarks', according to legal experts.

The set-top box, which is co-owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva, announced its official name as YouView last week.

The box, which is set to launch in the first half of 2011, will introduce a programme guide that goes backwards as well as forwards. The new offering, which during development was called Project Canvas, aims to build upon Freeview’s success and offer a subscription-free TV service with more choice via extra context made available via the web. It will allow people to see what programmes are currently live, alongside everything they have missed in the last seven days.

Richard Halton, YouView’s chief executive, said that the branding of the box deliberately had echoes of the Freeview name, as the company wanted to communicate to consumers that this was the next generation of free to air television.

However, Robin Fry, an intellectual property partner at the commercial law firm Beachcroft LLP, thinks the similarity of YouView and YouTube could cause problems. He said: “YouTube have worldwide registrations, including in the UK, for a wide range of services and products including content, videos and pictures via the internet and other communications and broadcast services.

"There's no doubt that the use of 'You' coupled with the unusual capitalised character in the middle of the word means that many consumers will think there's a connection between the two. The BBC consortium are playing a dangerous game by trading on YouTube's brand. It's a reckless decision to launch a major brand with the risk of an injunction from such an adversary as Google, YouTube's owners."

Google declined to comment on any potential legal action it might pursue.

A spokesman from YouView said: "We are not aware of any opposition from YouTube. The trademarks are not in any way confusingly similar.

"We have done an extensive review and taken legal advice before registering our trademark. We are confident that the proposition and name are distinctive in the market."

30-09-2010, 17:45
TalkTalk takeover speculation mounts

Bundle provider TalkTalk is reportedly being eyed by a number of telecoms firms.
TalkTalk could be an attractive proposition for a takeover by one of the other main players in the UK telecoms market, industry analysts have claimed.

Mark James of Liberum Capital told Dow Jones Newswires that mobile network operators such as Vodafone and O2, plus T-Mobile and Orange through their parent company Everything Everywhere, could be keen to acquire the bundle provider.

"We expect TalkTalk to be bought longer term," he remarked.

Meanwhile, a London-based investment banker said TalkTalk is likely to want to seek out a richer backer to enable it to keep pace with the expansion of its rivals.

"If you think that the UK broadband market will eventually distil down to three - BSkyB, Virgin Media and BT - funding will at some point become an issue," the source commented.

Earlier this month, Mr James told the Guardian that Vodafone could be particularly keen to purchase the broadband and home phone provider to bolster its fixed communications sales.

30-09-2010, 17:46
Sky to launch Nickelodeon HD

Kids' channel Nickelodeon HD will launch in the UK on Sky towards the start of next month.

Sky's high-definition (HD) TV subscribers will have the opportunity to watch hours of crystal-clear cartoons and other kids' entertainment courtesy of Nickelodeon.

Parent company MTV Networks International (MTVNI) revealed Nickelodeon HD will be available on Sky from October 5th 2010, following the launch of Comedy Central HD earlier this summer.

This move means that MTVNHD, the company's first international HD service, will no longer broadcast regular Nickelodeon programmes and will instead concentrate on music-based content.

President of MTVNI Bob Bakish said the group is committed to investing further in HD TV across its "industry leading brands", which also include VH1, VIVA and TMF.

"These new HD services will create stronger bonds with our kid, youth and adult audiences, as well as provide innovative new products to cable and satellite operators," he added.

Earlier this month, Sky announced that more than 30 per cent of its customers - representing over three million subscribers - are now signed up to HD TV.

30-09-2010, 17:47
Sky Sports available for free this weekend

Premier League football and a host of other sporting events will be part of the Sky Sports Open Day.
Sky has announced it will hold an "open day" for its sports channels this weekend.

On Sunday (September 26th 2010), subscribers to Sky, Virgin Media, UPC TV, TalkTalk TV, Velocity 1, Small World TV and Magnet TV who do not currently have Sky Sports access will be able to spend the day on their sofas watching some high-profile events.

Without having to shell out a penny, consumers who flick over to one of the four Sky Sports channels on the day can watch European Tour golf, Barclays Premier League football, rugby league and NFL.

Furthermore, Sky customers with a high-definition (HD) package will be able to view Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and 4 in HD, while Virgin Media HD subscribers can access Sky Sports HD1 and HD2.

"Sky Sports wants to give customers the opportunity to experience its range of content, quality of coverage and analysis," it explained.

This development comes ahead of the launch of Sky 3D, which will be available from October 1st.